A scene from Asha Jawar Majhe

A Bengali Film which is largely overshadowed by a Continental name, has hardly been able to come to the attention of the common Bengali film watchers. Being a debutante venture of Aditya Vikram Sengupta, it is worth the acclamation that it has been bringing to its profit bank (aesthetically).

 This has been the latest trend with parallel filmmakers in Bengal to step out to the crowd after being acclaimed at International Film Fests. Earlier, the same was identified as the mannerisms of Kaushik Ganguly, Rituparno Ghosh etc.

 Labour of Love tediously brings out the efforts that are put up by a man and a woman in pursuit of a comfortable married life that may or may not come up in the near future. The original title of this film is Asha Jawar Majhe. It implies the intermediary phase between the leaving and returning of home. Firstly, we will discuss the difference between the actual (subtitled) title and the literal translation of its original name.


Asha Jawar Majhe Vs Labour of Love: Analyzing the Title

 The film begins with a cost-effective, but ‘easy to interpret’ way to define the industrial phase of Kolkata. It depicts the issues of unemployment and inflation adding to the existing crisis of the city. Here, the director can be claimed to refer to the style that had been in popular use by Mrinal Sen in his stereotypical Ala-Carte- Calcutta 71 films; however, the style is barely, but confined to the mere art-director’s creations.

 Aditya (the auteur) has contained a subtle balance between the English and the original title of this film. Asha Jawar Majhe symbolizes a slight growth toward the tendency of attributing a film to the most simplified terms and here, Asha Jawar Majhe means the phase that exists between two important events i.e. leaving and returning. The man has been shown to be involved in a night-shift job, while the vice-versa exists for his wife. Hence, there is a sweet, delicate moment that is supposed to arise when either of them finds the house empty and devoid of the better half.

 The title, Labour of Love is a more practical and direct way of naming the film that clearly indicates the film to be showcasing a laboured effort to survive with and in love. It can be another way of expressing the film in a pitching manner (pitch refers to the overall telling of a script in 15-20 mins) to the global audience, regarding the existing global village.


Analyzing the concept of Labour of Love

 Through the sorrow lanes of Bengal, the film discloses a scenic journey, which refers more to the one from gloom to life, as if death is always the direct antonym for happiness and contentment. However, in this piece, the female protagonist prefers to wear the contentment of love. In contrast, the male protagonist can be seen coping up with household stuffs in sun. This might look a bit disturbing for all those  who have preferred male dominance as the sole form of independence on earth. Soon, the scenario gets justified with the ‘hero’ finds it satisfactory to lend his hands to the house. The best part that has been depicted in the film is when Ritwick (male protagonist) drapes himself in his wife’s saree, covering up his lower portion. This represents the feminism cover or enclosure of the male-ego (represented by his reproductive organs) with his better half’s attributes. This can also be explained as the perfect example of the diminishing ego.

 There have been continuous usage of devices of miscommunication in the film, which has been shown with the visage of a disturbing noise taking place at the workplace. This can easily be compared to the disruption in communication in personal life as well. The same scene reminds of La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. However, such elements do not seem to disrupt the marital harmony in their lives. There is a minute sticker in the piece that runs up the news of suicide of a mill worker; this has brought out the concern that resides in the hearts of both. More striking is the one shown through the wife’s expressions, who on entering the house stares (astonishingly) at a pair of trousers hanging from a place above her viewpoint. It seems to represent as if a person is hanging from the ceiling, which has been conveniently perceived by the wife as her husband with a suicidal note.

 The climax is an extension of the husband’s day dream; this screens the moment when the husband meets his wife and gets travelled to a Utopian land. The same can be seem to be the disclosure of marital moments.

Labor of Love can certainly as a good quality film; however, the same could have been made as a short feature. The director has showcased a prepared talent with an expertise in Cinematography and Editing; however, storytelling could have been a bit more subjective. Overall, a 6 out of 10 piece and a must watch!



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