The Japanese Wife is based and adapted from the novel of the same title written by Kunal Basu and published in 2008 by Harper Collins. It deals with the story of a Bengali schoolteacher who falls in long-distance love with his Japanese pen friend.
After reading the book, Director Aparna Sen declared, “It’s an improbable and hauntingly beautiful love story, almost surreal in its innocence. And I immediately knew that this was the film I had to make.” And she did it.
Aparna Sen is a critically acclaimed director, script writer, and actress. She is the winner 3 National Film Awards and 8 International Film Festival Awards.
Sen made her film debut as an actress at the age of 16, when she played the role of Mrinmoyee in the Samapti portion of the 1961 film Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) directed by Satyajit Ray.
After completing her education at The Presidency College, Kolkata, she resumed her film career in Mrinal Sen’s Akash Kusum in 1965. She worked with Satyajit Ray in several of his films, including the short Pikoo (1981). She acted in more than fifty films.
In 1981, Sen made her debut as a film director with 36 Chowringhee Lane. Her other directorial ventures include Paroma (1984), Sati (1989), Yugant (1995), Paromitar Ek Din (2000), Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2001) and 15 Park Avenue (2005).
Snehamoy ( Rahul Bose) teaches at his village school in the Sundarbans, West Bengal while Miyage (Chigasu Takaku) lives in Japan and they are intimate pen friends. Both of them feel all alone in this world and bond emotionally. They even get married through letters only when Snehamoy sends Miyage sindhur, bangles, saris and mangala sutra. They exchange kites and all sorts of meaningful gifts.
Snehamoy lives with his aunt (Moushumi Chatterjee) and she wants him to marry Sandhya (Raima Sen).
Then she comes to know about his nephew’s Japanese connection. As the time passes, Miyage awaits to be in physical touch with her husband, who also sends her ayurvedic medicines.
Meanwhile, Sandhya, now a widow, and her little son Paltu take shelter in Snehamoy’s house. They become adorers of Snehamoy. Then comes the news that Miyage in Japan is seriously ill.
What will happen to these intense relationships, the unfulfilled desires and deep desperations? That forms the rest of this poignant tale.
Rahul Bose gives a scintillating performance. Raima Sen underplays her role to create a most credible character. Moushmi Chatterjee is vibrant and vivacious. Chigasu Takaku is very convincing and effective. With author-backed roles, all these actors perform methodically and skillfully. All others simply fit their roles like a ‘T’.
The novel has been splendidly adapted for the cinema medium by Aparna Sen. This film has excellent characterization and laid back narration that makes you think about these real life characters. It brings out the poignancy of human relationships and the shattering of hopes along with desperation because of unfulfilled desires. Cinematography by Anay Goswami is extraordinary with each frame like a painting. Music by Sagar Desai enhances the various moods of the narration.
The Japanese Wife is a must-see for all serious students of cinema and the multiplex cine buffs.
The Cast and Crew
Rahul Bose, Raima Sen, Chigasu Takaku, Moushmi Chatterjee, Kunal Basu, Rudranil Ghosh and others
Writer: Kunal Basu
Music: Sagar Desai
Cinematography: Anay Goswami
Producer: Madhu Mantena
Screen-written and Directed by : Aparna Sen
3.75 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar
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