Mothers Are Not The Epitome Of Sacrifice. 5 Bengali Movies To Watch With This In Mind

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Bengali Onscreen mothers: The world of Bengali movies has diverse female characters. There are women who are strong and also women who are weak and vulnerable. Feminism has been a major theme in Bengali cinema for a long time. Beginning from Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya and Charulata to Aparna Sen’s Parama and 36 Chowrangee Lane, we meet an array of women who have given a new dimension to feminism. Keeping up the tradition, modern-day directors too feature feminist mothers in their works.

Bengali Onscreen mothers: A list of 5 Bengali movies with feminist mothers who break the stereotype

1. Crisscross (Suzy)

Suzy (Priyanka Sarkar) is a freelance graphic designer but the movie tells us how she struggles to find a job. Even if she gets an assignment, she does not receive her payment on time. She steps out of her toxic marriage with a drug addict. As a single mother, her only aim is to provide her son with a quality education. But this doesn’t seem easy. With no money in hand, she is unable to pay his school fees and also faces harassment. But Suzy doesn’t give in. Rather, asks for help from a friend, looks for a job and does everything she can to arrange finances. By the end of the movie, she is successful in getting both a project and her payment.

2. Mukherjee Dar Bou (Aditi)

Mukherjee Dar Bou talks about the dysfunctional relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, who is also a mother to a six-year-old. It is a story women can relate to at all levels. As the title suggests, women slowly begin to lose their identity post marriage. They are known only as someone’s wife or someone’s mother. This Pritha Chakraborty directorial establishes the fact that even the most complicated relationships can be eased with love and understanding. Most importantly, the movie shows how Aditi (Koneenica Banerjee) and her mother-in-law, Shovarani (Anashua Majumdar) gradually break all shackles the society has placed on them. They discover themselves as individuals and not just ‘married women’.

3. Posto (Sushmita)

Posto (Argha Basu Roy) lives with his grandparents as his parents are busy with their work and visit him on weekends. But just like all feminist mothers, Sushmita (Mimi Chakraborty) knows how to manage her son along with managing her job. When her husband, Arnab (Jisshu Sengupta) decides to move to the U.K. to start a new business, she readily agrees to quit her job to support him. But Posto’s grandparents refuse to part with him.

In a poignant scene, she opens up to her in-laws saying that she too has a right over her son. She refused to get a promotion at work because that would lead to her transfer to a different city and she couldn’t afford to stay away from her family and son. We also learn that Sushmita had to take an injection to stop the breast milk because her son would be staying away with his grandparents.

She finally points out that her father-in-law doubted her ability as a mother. This makes us ponder if feminist mothers always need to ‘prove’ that they can be good caregivers too.

4. Swade Ahhlade (Kritika)

Feminist mothers uplift other women. Kritika (Priyanka Sarkar) is a fine example of this. She is a young confident working woman and a single mother who has a daughter. She constantly faces judgements from society because she is divorced and chooses to dress according to her choice. But she knows how to deal with men who harass her. When Kritika discovers that Chaitali (Sreeleka Mitra), a middle-aged homemaker is blessed with the talent of cooking a delicious meal, she convinces her to monetise her knack. The two women start a home delivery business which boosts Chaitali’s confidence. She had been suffering in an abusive marriage for years. But her newfound career and financial independence give her the power to fight back against her husband and in-laws.

5. Shonar Pahar (Upama)

Upama (Tanuja Mukherji) is a retired school teacher. She is estranged from her son and daughter-in-law. At this stage in life, she is unwilling to make compromises. Even in her old age, she takes up new ventures such as learning how to drive and going on a trip with Bitlu (Srijato Bandhopadhyay), a child she met through an NGO.

The story is one of love, friendship and confidence that doesn’t die with age. Upama is not the type of mother who longs for her son to return. His absence does not bother her much but as the story proceeds, she forgives him as he realises where he went wrong. The story ends on a happy note with a family reunion.

None of these mothers gives up themselves to nurture their kids, they can strike the balance between the home and the world.

The views expressed are the author’s own.