Aparna Sen’s ‘Iti Mrinalini’, a much hyped film is autobiographical in nature and tells about Mrinalini, a veteran actress who is shabbily treated by the media and even by Siddharta (well sort of, the main man in her life).Siddharta gets into a relationship even though he is married with a child and later on he even has another child which shocks her. Their relationship is like other similar relationships and takes the same path .Years later she contemplates suicide, but something prevents her from doing so. However the end does result in a tragedy.
The film seems to be a journey of Mrinalini and the men in her life and the effect that they had on her along with her daughter’s death in an accidental. If Siddharta was responsible, loving and yet a hypocrite, if one may call him, the same applies to Imtiaz , the director who brings her out of retirement only to use her. Then you have Chintan, a writer who shares a very special kind of relationship with her. All these seem to have taken on Mrinalini which makes her decide to commit suicide. She seems to go through all her belongings and memorabilia before taking the ultimate step, however the actual reason for taking this step seems to be very stupid (which is bagging a role in Imtiaz’s film).This journey back in time reflects back on her life and she is supposed to be a character whom we should empathize with instead of a shallow, absorped woman, but we don’t.
You have these incidents like the Naxalite movement, storming the Golden Temple, the Kanishka air crash and the Delhi bomb blast-incidents which at least have no relevance as far as the film is concerned. The film should have been more insightful and thought provoking making us think and appreciate Mrinalini and create a film of international standards and make us a part of Mrinalini’s world as well, but somehow we never become a part of the world.
The film seems to be pretentious, self indulgent, half baked and lacks in soul. The entire thing right from her reason for suicide to making herself suffer in that way just doesn’t click .There is something missing somewhere and you don’t feel for the character at all which one should have. That is when a film becomes a big let down. The characters whether Priyanshu,Rajat Kapoor as Siddharta or Kaushik Sen play their part though Kaushik is not a natural when it comes to this role. The new ‘Topshe’ Saheb Bhattacharya does not create any effect with his cameo, in fact looks like a very weak charecter.Rajat’s voice has been dubbed by Anjan Dutt.The music is okay. The art direction is one of the few good things of the film along with Konkona who is excellent as the younger Mrinalini as she gets considerable time to show the pain and turmoil she goes through and her act is probably the only act worth praising.Srijit Mukherjee,director of Autograph is seen here as Mrinalini’s brother.
The film has already won a few awards including best director (Aparna Sen) and best actress at the New York Indian Film Festival.