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Everything Is Fine: Seema Bhargava In A Short Film With Long Legs

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Everything  Is Fine

Starring Seema Bhargava Pahwa,  Paloma Ghosh

Directed  by  Mansi Nirmal Jain

Rating: *** ½

Sometimes a performance  towers  so above the  parent-product  that  it tends to blur  the  other  assets  of  that product. Not  so  in  Everything Is Fine, an 18-minute  short film with very long sturdy legs.

It is a deceptively  simple scenario.  A  couple 35 years into their marriage, pays  their earning daughter in Delhi a visit. The  mother brings with  her a  lot  of baggage.And  I don’t mean  the pickles and the snacks for  the  daughter. We soon realize that the  father is not  an important character  in this  family  affair. At least  not  in the way they are in  films about  splintered marriages .He is deliberately  kept at a hazy distance  as  a nagging annoying emblem of spousal  bullying which after 35 years seems  normal.

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 Not  to this  wife, though. In  the night that  her parents arrive  daughter Natasha(Paloma Ghosh) finds  her mother  sobbing on  the rooftop .  A  little probing  and  Mom says she can’t  stay in her marriage any more and could she move in with her daughter permanently?

This is where I  found  myself a little distressed by the daughter’s  surprising  but not completely unexpected  response. Instead of coming forward to hold her  mother’s hand in what’s clearly the mother’s life-changing  meltdown moment,  the daughter in  all  her selfish glory, tells  the  mother to  stop overreacting and just sleep over it.

The  next morning Mom takes off  on  her own to do the things she wants to in Delhi, like buy that  inexpensive  jooti on  the roadside,  go for a boatride…simple pleasures that her husband robbed her of. In that  one short visit to Delhi  Seema Bhargava brings to the screen  all the accumulated  hurt of  the character’s  35 years where she has  smothered all her desires, big or small.

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Roaming alone in Delhi’s chor bazaar she calls her daughter  and  says, “If you couldn’t support at least  you could  give  me company.”   Loaded words,  those.

This  is a film that conveys much more than what we see on screen. There are  streams of  unexpressed resentment and thwarted desires running  through the narrative. I wanted  to know  more  about this woman’s life  because she is so faceless, so  nondescript, and that’s why so special.

Watch this  short  film ,not only for its cogent  central  performance but also because it tells us so much about the crushed dreams of an average everyday  housewife in so little playing time.

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