Bariwali – The Landlady

Loneliness is apparently an epidemic, so I read. World over there are millions and millions of people who count themselves as being lonely and yet there is no way most of them are going to find company or companionship, rather ironic, isn’t it?

Tinder or no Tinder, some among us are going to hit the bucket alone.

Well, Rituparno Ghosh’s award winning film Bariwali or The Landlady deals with this rather delicate subject with a tenderness that makes the movie quite the classic it is.

The land lady of a large aristocratic looking mansion was widowed in her youth. She has led a lonely life and is a nervous woman who does not entertain connections with the outside world. Her slow uneventful life is thrown out of its mundane routines when a film director approaches her with a request to shoot his film at her home.

Though initially hesitant, Bonolatha is taken in by the charismatic ways of the director and agrees. Bonolatha’s maid servant is a flutter of excitement as is her manager, an old man.

While Bonolatha is drawn to the charming ways of the director, the shooting proceeds and the director even casts her in a small role. This life changing moment brings back music to Bonolatha’s soul and she is delighted.

However, after the unit packs off, Bonolatha receives a letter from Debashish a young member of the unit informing her that her role was cut off the film.

With no financial compensation paid to her for the use of her property, Bonolatha realizes that she was exploited by the director who she took to be a gentleman. Her pride is hurt and her life returns to its old drudgery of load shedding and her struggle to meet the ends.

Kiron Kher effectively essays the role of the tragic heroine, Bonolatha.

Emotional weakness often lends man to become a victim of exploitation and Bonolatha’s character well depicts this awful truth of life.


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