Thursday, September 2, 2010

15 Park Avenue (2005)

It was most definitely not worth a 5 rating that Seema S. gave the film at Blockbuster: 15 Park Avenue (2005).

15 Park Avenue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The film is the story of the relationship between a woman, Meethi, (Konkona Sen Sharma) who suffers from schizophrenia, and her sister Anjali (Shabana Azmi).

Meethi (short for Mitali) hails from an upper middle class family, fraught with a complex relationship structure. She is the child through the second marriage of her mother, and this is not explored in much detail in the movie since it focuses on other issues. Anu, her older sister, is a professor of physics at a university, who is shown to be intellectual and practical; however, the paradox in her character becomes obvious when she decides to forsake her personal life for her ailing younger sister. This shows her in a different light, and the viewer sees the contradiction throughout the movie.

Meethi is shown to have dormant schizophrenic traits since childhood, as depicted in the scene where Anu tells her doctor Kunal Barva (Dhritiman Chatterjee) that Meethi had always been a loner. Meethi felt everyone could hear her swallowing or gulping and so was embarrassed to go to school. Anu believes that a traumatic gang rape by political goons during Meethi's work assignment has pushed her over the edge and has led to the onset of full-blown schizophrenia.

Meethi lapses into incoherent delusions about a happy family and children which have been her erstwhile dreams. (In reality, her fiance Jojo (Rahul Bose) backed out from the relationship.) Clutching on to these straws, she desperately looks for her home 15 Park Avenue, where she feels she will be at peace. A chance meeting with her Jojo, 11 years after they broke up, gives Meethi a further impetus into her delusional world, as she touchingly trusts him to look for her home since now he is an outsider whom she does not recognise. For Meethi, the world is divided into her imaginary home and the outsiders, who keep her from going to her "family."

Guilt is a predominant colour in the landscape of this movie, depicted in the persona of every character, be it Anu, Joydeep or Mrs. Mathur (Waheeda Rehman). Iit is in the background of this tale of reality, illusion and the thin line between the two.

Very little subtitles as English was the primary language. Strong accents but was acceptable in understanding the cast. But it just did not do anything for us. I rated it as a miserable 1 as this seemed to have little value. The ending seemed weird and in a way, the real world we were exposed to could have actually been the dream and that she returned to the real world after finding her home. The director did not seem to give us enough clues for either conclusion. This makes it a perfect example of reset button technique again, which I consider not a very good technique in films.

The scenes were slow moving and the dialogue tedious at best. Some films work good at building suspense but this was just dead air space...

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