Dipen Guhawrote on Jul 18 2009 12:30AM
Aparna Sen's "Paroma" explores female identity in the context of of the Indian family and the plight of women as subjects in a culture that tends to marginalise and imprison them. In "Paroma" Sen examines how the idenrity of women can be rearticulated in terms of the historical experience of gender. The film centers round Paroma as she approaches middle age ' she married early and lives a sheltered life in a traditional upper-class family.
A family festival takes place at which Paroma plays a crucial role. She is entrusted with overseeing all the details. At the festival, Paroma meets the friend of her husband's nephew, called Rahul, who earns his living abroad as a phorographer. Rahul is attracted by Paroma although he is much younger than she . As a friend , Rahul would customarily addresses her as aunt, instead, he calls her by her first name . Paroma finds this somewhat unsettling. Rahul brings to the family gathering the photographs he took at the festival, and Paroma is embarrassed that she is at the centre. Rahul arrives one morning as Paroma is attending her daily household chores, and takes some photographs of her. Rahul comes back again and asks Paroma to introduce him to the city. Taking permission of her in-law Paroma enjoys the freedom to set out. Gradually , she finds herself emotionally involved with Rahul. In accordance with family customs. Paroma has always dutifully played the assigned the roles of wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Now, she begins to realise that she is a flesh and blood . Her married life with Bhaskar has settled into a predictable and routine round of events, but she feels the desire for Rahul stirring within her. Fear overtakes her and she calls up her husband, who is away for business, to come back immediately. It happens that Paroma meets Rahul by chance in the house of one of her friends. There she yields to her desires and delights in the new relationship. This becomes a regular practice. She is overpowered by a new excitement of life. When Rahul leaves India.Paroma returns to her customery way of life. But things have changed invariably, and neither her husband nor her household seems to have any attraction for her. Rahul sends some photographs one of which contains the message of his love. When Bhashkar comes by this a storm breaks out. She is now literally ostrasizd, dismembered from the membered family. Parama is found lying bleeding in a bath. The compassionate family doctor admonishes her that she should seek psychiatric counselling to recover from her trauma and erase her feeling of guilt. Paroma's daughter who had initially condemned her behaviour, now comes and sits by her.