Monday 31 October 2011

Paroma [1984]

Aparna Sen followed up her marvelous debut film 36 Chowringhee Lane with this layered tale of forbidden love. The titular character of Paroma, played by Rakhi, is a conservative, middle-aged Bengali housewife who lives a mundane existence completely engrossed in her various familial responsibilities. Her life has converted into a series of well-rehearsed activities surrounding her husband (Dipankar De), who’s an executive in a large company, her children, and her mother-in-law. However, her eventless life takes a sudden turn when Rahul, a famous photographer (Mukul Sharma), decides to make her the subject of his next project. Before long Paroma, with all her repressed frustrations and dreams, gets entangled into a potentially scandalous relationship with the younger guy. The narrative was dealt with enough sensitivity and maturity, and Rakhi did a superb job in capturing her character’s memorable metamorphosis. And, despite its strong feminist subtexts, the director did a commendable job at keeping them under bay. However, the emotional content of the film at times went overboard, which in turn opened the doors for a few clichés here and there in terms of plot developments and characterizations. Some of the best parts of the movie take place when Paroma and Rahul explore the city of Calcutta (including an under-construction Vidyasagar Setu!), as well as Paroma’s ancestral but now dilapidated house and her days of growing up – these joint explorations of theirs turn out to be as much physical as psychological.

Director: Aparna Sen
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Urban Drama/Romantic Drama
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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