I have just watched Antaheen, the much-hyped multistarred Bengali film by Aniruddha Roychoudhury. Beautifully made, no doubt about that. The sensitivity of the director supported by the the most talented actors together have produced such a blend that one is bound to leave the theatre with a feeling of fulfilment.
But, (and I am not going to be the ruthless critic here)I wonder what was it that the director had wanted to say. It couldn't have been just another narration of the fastpaced urban life, nor could it have been a purely philosophical piece. It definitely has the taste of Anuranon, his first film, both bearing his unmistakable signature, but it has left me more confused than enlightened. After all what is it that he has tried to drive home through Antaheen? The venerable man who reviewed this film had said that it had made him feel guilty, that it had compelled him to spend a little more time than usual with his wife. But what has Antaheen got to offer to me?
Antaheen narrated the tragedy of an eternal wait....but, (and HERE lies my doubt)not just the tragedy, also the beauty of it. It speaks of lack of communication, but it also speaks of understanding. To know that, even without acknowledging it, someone's always there as a source of support, by itself is beautiful. Antaheen is essentially nuanced with pathos, but not laden with it. To find the morbid murky world lurking behind the glimmering veil of urban sophistication is distressing, but don't we ALL know it already? The director is sensible enough not to repeat and exaggerate what is being said innumerable times through all the megasoaps, films like Life in a metro and Page3. But then, he has stressed on a wait that never ends, that is eternal, waiting for the beloved to return, waiting quietly, without a complain, without any expression of pain or deprivation. Waiting to hear just a word, waiting for but a touch, waiting forever for the other one to make the first move. So, has the director tried to persuade us to pay more heed to our own seniments, to be the one to make the first move, NOT to wait? I wonder....
Antaheen made me shed tears....it does remind you of all the bonds that you have left behind, that you have felt lighter without, like wornout castoff skins, like exoskeletons of hideous pests.....it twists and wrings your heart like a drenched dress that has to be dried...it fills your heart with an excruciating pain, that is, at the same time, surprisingly inexplicable. But I still don't know what Aniruddha Roychoudhury wants to convey... I for one, am quite contented with the state of affairs in my life, but it too, has gaping voids, it too, is characterised by neverending wait....am I expected to attempt filling up those voids, to rid my life of those nullities that are painful but beautiful...am I expected to communicate my pains to the ones for whom I wait.... ?
Perhaps some periods of waiting never end...they are never meant to either...perhaps it is only fair to keep waiting for the birds that have flown out of the nest, never to return...it is important to wait, to feel that I too, am a human being with normal sentiments, normal aches, normal expectations...but perhaps it is just unfair to expect that the wait will end, will culminate in a joyful reunionthat might be (mind you, MIGHT be) ephemeral. Mr.Roychoudhury, is this what you wanted to say? Well, I must admit, your way of saying it was, in one word, beautiful....raat jaga taara....Antaheen opekkha....I am tempted to quote Tagore:
"Amar ekti katha banshi jane, banshi-i jane.
Bhore roilo buker tola, karo kachhe hoini bola,
Kebol bole gelem banshi-r kane-kane.
Amar chokhe ghum chhilo na gobheer rate,
Cheye chhilem cheye thaka tarar sathey.
Emni gelo sara rati, pai ni amar jagar sathi,
Banshi-tire jagiye gelem gane gane..."