Searching for life at 15 Park Avenue
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Searching for life at 15 Park Avenue

Aparna Sen's film promises to take viewers on an emotional ride. In pics

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 18:20 IST

15 Park Avenue
Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rahul Bose
Direction: Aparna Sen
Rating: *** & 1/2

Once in a while comes along a movie which promises nothing that an average cinegoer looks for on silver screen. Obviously, such movies are not meant for entertainment, but they leave you numb as they show a reality which only a few directors can transport on the screen. In this context, 15 Park Avenue needs no introduction other than its director’s name.

It’s easy for the world to pass off a schizophrenic as mad, but, it’s not easy for the family to cope with the situation. 15 Park Avenue explores the multi-pronged issues of a family whose young daughter is a schizophrenic. Mitali, known as Meethi (Konkona Sen Sharma) to friends, always “had a propensity for the disease” but goes on to work as a journalist and even has a boyfriend Jojo (Rahul Bose) to whom she is engaged. Everything about her is normal except for the weekly visits to the doc. However, she gets gang-raped while covering post-poll violence in a village which leaves her in a psychological mess. But, severance from her boyfriend, who fails to connect with her after the episode, destroys her.

15 Park Avenue explores the multi-pronged issues of a family whose young daughter is a schizophrenic. The film promises to take the viewers on an emotional ride.

Here begins the real ordeal, both for the girl as well as for her family, comprising a widowed mother (Waheeda Rehman), a professor sister Anjali (Shabana Azmi) and a brother who couldn’t be bothered at all. The stress begins to tell on her sister, who has to put her “own life on hold” for the sake of the family. The film takes the viewer on an emotional ride — of a girl lost in a world where she lives with her husband and five kids but cannot locate the house whose address is 15 Park Avenue, and of her divorced sister, who wants to move ahead with her life but can’t.

In an interesting turn towards the finish, Meethi and Jojo (now married to Laxmi with two kids) bump into each other on a holiday in Bhutan. However, Meethi has lost track of the real Jojo in her quest for the Jojo of her dreamworld.

Sen has yet again displayed her total command of handling the emotional quotients of her characters, which define the whole film. She does a fine job of telling the story of Mitali on the bigger screen without losing out on the threads of the story of Anjali. The situations where Meethi’s doctor Kunal (Dhritiman Chatterjee) takes a friendly interest in her, where Jojo the married man tries to help Meethi locate her house are just stupendous.

The best is the climax where Meethi finally loses herself in her dream and disappears. As for the actors, only Shabana Azmi and Konkona Sen Sharma could have done justice to the characters created by the director — class apart.

Go watch it.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 10:00 IST