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15 Park Avenue

The film probes the clash between the so-called real world we live in and the eternal search for what is real.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 18:16 IST

Cast: Rahul Bose, Konkona Sen Sharma, Waheeda Rehman, Shabana Azmi,Soumitra Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Mahima Chaudhry
Director: Aparna Sen

Storyline: Aparna Sen returns with her film 15 Park Avenue, after the engrossing Mr and Mrs Iyer, with the same lead pair of Konkana Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose. Expectations are high from this film as Mr and Mrs Iyer won over not just the ordinary filmgoer with its sensitive direction but also critics and went on to win a National Award.

The film tells the story of step sisters Anjali and Mitali.

Anjali and Mahesh are Rewa’s children from her first marriage to Col. Mathur who had died soon after Mahesh was born. Col Mathur's friend Sunil Mathur provides emotional support to Rewa and also helps her bring up the two kids. Rewa later marries Sunil, who turns out to be a caring surrogate father. Mitali is the daughter of Rewa and Sunil. She is the the youngest in the family, treated like a baby as she is years younger to both Anjali and Mahesh.

Anjali is a professor of Physics at a university in Calcutta and a well-known writer. She marries early but has a bad marriage and files for a divorce. After the divorce she returns to live with her mother and stepfather. Mahesh is happily married and lives in a separate house with his wife Padma and three kids. Mitali's is a disturbed life. She is both mentally and physically challenged. She suffers from schizophrenia and epilepsy and is under the constant care and attention of her family. Mitali tries hard to overcome her disability and remain active and independent. She is keen to lead as normal a life as possible. She gets engaged to Joydeep though Anjali is against the alliance because of Mitali's illness.

But the family goes ahead with the engagement, which is a grand affair.

But soon, Mitali's life takes a disastrous turn. While on an assignment (she is a journalist) in Kolkata, where she is pursuing a political story, she is raped repeatedly. The unfortunate incident disturbs her psyche deeply, pushing her schizophrenic tendencies to the fore. Joydeep cannot handle the sudden turn of events and breaks off the engagement. Mitali plunges into depression.

The family decides to put her into an asylum and when Mitali returns home after spending some time in the asylum, neither she nor her life is the same again. She lapses into a world of make believe where she is married to Joydeep, she calls herself Mrs Joydeep Ray and populates her world with a large, happy family where she has five children. She even has an address to her home of her dreams - 15 Park Avenue.

Life becomes complicated for the family, with most of the burden shifting to Anjali, who provides financially, physically and mentally for the family after Sunil Mathur passes away. She is the sole person looking after her mother and schizophrenic sister. The stress starts telling on her so much that she is advised by a doctor to take a break and spend some time in a healthy, normal atmosphere.

The family plans a vacation in Bhutan and guess what? They meet Joydeep there, but now with his wife and two kids. Joydeep is stunned to see Mitali - ill, depressed. He is wracked by feelings of guilt and feels compelled to go and meet them in their rented cottage in Bhutan. Anjali is not happy to see him. Mitali does not recognise him. For her, he is the Mr Roy from her delusional world.

She becomes very friendly with him as he keeps dropping in, though his wife is not comfortable with this new development. For Mitali, Joydeep is like a saviour, who, she believes, can help her find out her house at 15 Park Avenue and relieve her from Anjali, who she finds intolerable.

Joydeep is torn between the two women - he cares deeply for both of them in different ways and the dilemma is tearing him apart. Which is the real world for him - that of the woman he once loved and feels partly responsible for her present distraught state or the wife and lovely children he now has? Which is his real home - the one where he lives with his present family or 15 Park Avenue?

What is real - Mitali's world, her search for something which one can never find or the "real" world of us, "sane" people?

Back in Calcutta Joydeep does go with Mitali to look for 15 Park Avenue – to look for something one can never find. But, is Mitalithe only one with delusions? Aren’t we all – the so-called ‘sane’ people of the world – under delusions of our own?

USP:
The powerhouse
pair of Rahul Bose and Konkana Sen Sharma come together once again after the fantastic Mr and Mrs Iyer.

It also marks the return of Waheeda Rehman, after a long gap.

Feast your eyes on the beautiful Bhutan landscape.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 19:57 IST