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Rituparno Ghosh’s narrative-bending Abohomaan

Rituparno Ghosh’s narrative-bending Abohomaan

September 09, 2021 07:14 AM
Rituparno Ghosh’s narrative-bending Abohomaan

What comes easier? An unsophisticated person playing a sophisticated role? Or the opposite?” In Rituparno Ghosh’s 2010 film, Abohomaan, this discourse between sophistication and unsophistication arrives several times through the classic Pygmalion concept of a mentor’s relationship with his muse. When acclaimed film-maker Aniket Mazumdar (Deepankar De) casts the uninhibited Sikha (Ananya Chatterjee) to play Binodini, it is his wife Dipti (Mamata Shankar) who moulds her into Srimati — someone with much more control and hold over herself. Originally meant to play the role when Aniket had first thought of making the film, it is Dipti’s grooming that transforms Sikha into Srimati, which then breeds an affair between the actress and the film-maker, thereby disrupting Srimati’s family forever.

At first, it is Aniket’s son Apratim (Jisshu Sengupta) who asks the question, when the family sits together in a dining table scene. They are discussing Sikha’s fearless and unbridled audition and her capability to play someone like Nati Binodini. Dipti says it’s the defiance and the arrogance in Sikha’s personality which makes her accessible to the character. The next time Dipti finds herself in a similar discussion is when Sikha complains of Aniket and his constant teasing with comments on her education and name, during the film’s shooting, which makes her want to leave. It is here that Dipti assigns her the name of Srimati, providing her with autonomy in a new identity as a sophisticated star. Another name of the mythological character Radha, it marks the complete transformation of Sikha into a heroine. Finally, when Dipti confronts Aniket about his affair with Srimati, she returns to the same question and expresses that even if he chooses unsophistication over sophistication, she will stick to her role and play the perfect housewife. “If I have to punish you all your life,” she says, “I will require a minimum sophistication.”


Title issued by: Government Of India, Registrar of Newspaper for India-UPENG/2013/54180

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