Asha Jaoar Majhe review.
Written by Souranath Banerjee.
My Ratings: 4.6/5.
In the early days when Cinema was born, like any infant it didn’t know how to speak. The era of the silent films emphasized on the very fact that cinema was essentially a visual medium.
But then dialogues were introduced as a side-effect of our technological elevation and since then Cinema hasn’t stopped talking.
And thus in the midst of such immense verbal chaos, when you come across a film that doesn’t need any dialogues and is capable enough to tell a story purely on a visual level – it turns out to be a pleasant surprise.
Asha Jaoar Majhe (English title: Labour of Love) is one such film.
With only two characters (Ritwick Chakraborty, Basabdatta Chatterjee), a handful of locations and NO dialogues; Asha Jaoar Majhe poetically portrays a single day in the life of the lonely lovers.
A married couple who works in separate shifts for a living, they almost never meet each other but still their lives are connected in more ways than one could possibly imagine.
The woman (Basabdatta Chatterjee) goes for work in the morning and by the time she comes back, the man (Ritwick Chakraborty) is gone for his night shift job. They share the same old house, the same keys, same bed, same towel, same food and the same loneliness.
A dream to be together with each other.
Asha Jaoar Majhe is a slow film which unfolds in it’s own reluctant pace; with leisurely camera movements and often torpid real time shots of sunsets, flying pigeons, boiling water on a frying pan, paddling of a cycle or even the wet footprints getting dry.
But the real brilliance of the film lies in the amount of details the writer/director Aditya Vikram Sengupta has managed to capture in the mundane actions of the day to day life of the couple.
The cracks on the walls, the semi-melted soap, the bindi on the mirror, the raw fish in the fridge, the textures of the clothes hanging on the rope, the mobile ringtones – shown with such precision and are so well linked that at the end they all make perfect sense and gives a feel of tranquility to the film.
Anish John did a superb job as a sound designer since a film without dialogues is very much dependent on it’s surrounding sounds.
The City of Joy is shown in a realistic yet artistic way that perfectly suits the mood of the film. Kolkata with it’s political slogans and tram-ropes, narrow lanes and old houses is almost treated as the third character of the film.
Asha Jaoar Majhe won the 62nd National Film Awards for the best director and audiography. It also won the best debut director award in the 71st Venice International Film Festival among many other international awards.
A lyrical cinema that reminded me of Kar Wai Wong famous romantic film In the Mood for Love (2000).
To a Cinema-lover Asha Jaoar Majhe is like a long deserved vacation far from the noisy polluted city life to some unknown green valleys, you close your eyes and take a deep breadth of fresh air – the experience of experiencing purity!