Half Serious (Bengali)

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Half Serious (Bengali)

U | 26 Jul, 2013

2 hrs 6 min | Comedy

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A social satire that questions prevalent gender relations. However, the script does not stop at questioning patriarchy only it also raises sharp questions about matriarchy as an alternative. This double angle allows the script to challenge the imbalance in power distribution in personal, familial and social relationships the very basis of gender injustice per se.

The film operates with a comic approach even to depict the most unpalatable forms of injustice meted out on the basis of gender imbalances. Cutting across situations in the world with deep concern in the Heavens about the prevalent conditions on earth, the script refers everything from Bengali intellectualism to wrong notions of the panacea for all ills lying in power changing hands in the form of patriarchy being replaced by matriarchy. It is only towards the end that the script subtly veers into a more serious mode that stresses the need for mutual understanding among couples and highlights the need for individual women to take charge of their own lives as a step towards a greater social change.

The narrative is never linear. Represented in a script written by, an ambitious but failed filmmaker, Aniruddha, who is also depicted to be a rather uncaring husband and father. He is too wrapped up in himself to care for what his wife Swagata is going through, or his childs justified expectations from him. In his script an oscillation between the World and the Heavens takes place. Human beings and gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon appear together to depict an imagined reality that would get people to double with laughter only to be soberly reminded in the end that much of the fantasy is rather real in our surroundings.

The script within the film zigzags between gender injustice in this World and the concern in the Heavens about that. Real life issues of dowry demands, son preference, chaste and devoted wives with drinking, torturing husbands are captured through Aniruddhas script.

The Dutta family with one failed lawyer as the master of the house, his wife, a married son with two daughters and the younger son in a relationship with a woman his father does not approve of provides the locale for these. The concern at the Heavens on the increasing rate of violence against women, very much a reality in the world we live in, allows the satire to reach incredible heights of absurd comicality by upturning the entire scenario where the drunkard, torturing husbands take on the roles of their enduring wives; men get sexually harassed and women rivals engage in all-to-known action sequences over a man they both fancy. The heavens are modeled on a corporate media house, subtly reflecting the role media can play in challenging issues that matter.

Aniruddha is made to question his own position and perspective through his own script and more importantly by his wife Swagata as she takes her first decisive steps for herself underlining the need for individual change to precede social change. At the end, the film goes back to Aniruddhas script and through a discourse in the Heaven, takes the argument another step forward, beyond the `gender-equality` platform and tries to explain the notion of social equilibrium in general.