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Seasons Greetings (Zee5): Lillette, Celina Light Up A Cluttered  Short Film



Seasons Greetings(Zee5)

Starring  Lillette  Dubey, Celina  Jaitley,  Azhar Khan , Shree Ghatak

Rating: ***(3 stars)

Meant to be a tribute to my great much-missed friend Rituparno Ghosh, Seasons Greeting is glutted with  clotted emotions , all trying to  make themselves heard in  a film too taken up with its ideas of aesthetic art and cinema to bother with  how real or unreal the  characters appear when placed into those soulful songs of  Rabindranath Tagore.

Rituparno(God bless his soul) also played a   lot  of Rabindra Sangeet in his  films. But in his cinema the dirgeful  plaintive tones were organic. Here they are thrust upon a narrative already creaking and  groaning with representational responsibilities.

We   first meet  the  film’s protagonist  Romita(the  lovely Celina  Jaitley making  a  comeback ) making love with Usmaan. The  clumsy amorous moves make way  for a selfconscious post-coital  conversation where Usmaan  talks about Ammi  and Romita  waxes eloquently on her Maa…We get  the point. The cultural mix is  rubbed into  our face,   smearing the  selfconsciously artistic frames with  affectations of a ‘message’

Soon Romita and her ponytailed  lover-boy are at her mother’s  beautifully appointed  home for  dinner exchanging sarcastic barbs  about  the husband/father who we gather has not come to visit  Romita and  her  mother for  15  years.  As  the conversation on  the dinner table  moves from accusatory to banal to dreadfully dull, a transgender househelp Chopola(Sree Ghatak) bustles  about with the  fish fry and  red wine

 While the mother and daughter  hardly eat the narration suffers  from a serious indigestion  having taken on more  on the plate than digestible. In 45 minutes  the film wants  to cram in issues of Hindu-Muslim marriage, transgender acceptance,  marital   commitment and a calculated  surprise ending   that  subsumes another  important  debate  on Article  377.

Sadly  the  film has neither the  wherewithal  nor  the sensitivity to pull through the multiple issues it  creates for itself. What will keep  you watching Seasons Greetings  till  the end  are the two actresses Lillette  Dubey and Celina Jaitly Haag,so beautiful and so above  the  manufactured bickering  that they are pushed into.

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