15 Park Avenue

7 06 2007

I saw “15 Park Avenue”, a movie by Aparna Sen on TV yesterday. Meethi (Konkana) is a journalist and sometimes shows symptoms of dormant schizophrenia. She stays with her elder divorcee sister Anu (Shabana Azmi), mother (Waheeda Rehman), works as a journalist and is in love with Jojo (Rahul Bose). She lives an almost normal life.

Inspite of frank advice from Anu, Jojo gets engaged to Meethi. On an assignment out of Kolkata, Meethi gets gangraped. She withdraws from reality and keeps sinking deeper and deeper in her fictitious world and the dormant disease slowly takes over. Jojo dumps her, marries Lakshmi (Shefali Shah) and they have two children.

Eleven years later, Jojo runs into Meethi who now can not recognize him anymore. According to her, she is already married to Jojo and has five kids. The names of kids are exactly as Meethi and Jojo had planned, in their dreamy, golden, happy times together. Jojo now feels responsible towards Meethi and wants to help her find the non-existent house at “15 Park Avenue”, which according to Meethi is her home, where her husband and kids are waiting for her. And then there are lots of small threads within the movie, about Anu, the mother and how their lives also metamorphose with Meethi.

There are some very effective lines in the movie. Somewhere in the movie, when Jojo feels responsible towards Meethi, he tries talking to his wife Lakshmi. He says “She is looking for something that doesn’t exist.”, while talking about Meethi and her search for 15 Park Avenue. Lakshmi, who is struggling to come to terms with the sudden turn of events in her well-fixed matrimony, who is not able to empathise with him, replies “Like all of us.”

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