What is life when every second is a constant struggle with either work or emptiness? How does love survive in such situations? Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Labour of Love or Asha Jaoar Majhe, explores the woes of a relationship in contemporary times. And it’s beautifully tragic.
The film opens with a news report set against a black backdrop. The reporter talks about recession and its effect on the masses, especially the working class. Later, we are taken across the cobbled alleys of Calcutta, as a young woman makes her way to work, first by a tram and then a bus. The film then shifts to a man standing near a window with a cup of tea in his hand. At first, the various scenes might not make sense, but the story unfolds as the film progresses. Slow, but steady.
Mahendra Shetty and Aditya Vikram Sengupta paint a rhapsodic picture with their sharp cinematography. The shots are brilliant and sublime. They make the simplest of things – like a crack in the wall, crumpled clothes, and the golden shimmer of mustard oil – look like a piece of art. But the brilliance cascades, as the film stretches a wee bit too long.
Both the actors, Ritwick Chakraborty and Basabdatta Chatterjee, give earnest performances.
Besides occasional music, noises from the street and voices from a morcha, the entire film is dialogue-less. An hour-long film, Labour of Love might tire you out. You get impatient and the shadows on the walls seem less interesting. We want to know more about the characters and not just the things around them. And perhaps, this longing works for the film as we impatiently wait for the two characters to meet. And when they do, we feel happy. This is labour of love.
Why should you watch this film?
How patient are you when it comes to films? This isn’t a fast-paced honey-dipped story of love where the couple sings or dances. Everything about Labour of Love is artsy. If you love watching parallel cinema, Labour of Love has the right elements. Also, get a big tub of popcorn for this one.