Sunday, April 20, 2014


Sad, nostalgic and in a way rather fatalistic


A small but interesting film about simple people in India today, simple is a way of speaking since the main character is dealing with public finances. But that is not really important. There is no ostentatious Hindu religion. There is no Muslim religion. We are obviously living among Hindu people and on the train to and from Mumbai, now and then there is a group of children reciting mantras in order to get a coin or two: in other words they are begging. We may also have a set of adult males doing the same, reciting mantras, we assume all along the trip. But that’s little. This absence of Hinduism enables the film to be totally silent on the worst problem of India today, the Dalits. This silence on this social problem is surprising, or maybe not so surprising after all. Let’s push that modern form of slavery under the table or under the carpet and it does not exist.

The film is just a story about a man who is going to retire. He is aging. Due to a mistake in the lunchbox delivery system he gets the lunchbox from a woman who is trying to re-conquer her husband by cooking special lunches for him. An epistolary relation starts via the lunchbox: message to and message fro. Till a meeting becomes possible. But it is then the aging man discovers he has no right to entertain some illusion about that younger woman, nor nurture illusions in her about a rejuvenating love affair which is nothing but a compensation for her inability to have a relation with her own husband. And he has no right to flatter his ego with the idea that he might still be young, to the point of maybe not retiring after all.

So everything goes right in the end, and he retires and his successor can take over. This successor is a total mystery since he is an absolute orphan but he is not a Dalit, and cannot be one since after some time his girlfriend who eloped with him gets the benediction of her rich father and they get married. Such a man who educated himself and who got experience in other countries before coming back to India is fascinating in a way because we can see everyday in our cities these Hindus from Sri Lanka (Tamils) or from India (Hindis or Tamils) selling fruit at the entrance of underground stations. To expatriate themselves, at least for a while seems to be part of the life experience of a certain proportion of Hindis and Tamils for very different reasons at times, since the Tamils of Sri Lanka mostly went to Europe or Australia and Canada to run away from the civil war of the terroristic Tamil Tigers, though they were then the preys of these Tigers who blackmailed them with their relatives in Sri Lanka to force them to pay the “revolutionary tax.” The film does not really say how and why that young man expatriated himself.

That’s the most surprising aspect of the film. It remains very vague on details and explanations. And in the end it is a very sad film about aging accepted by the main character but that leads him to a life of total idleness he turns into some kind of voyeurism from his terrace into the home of what appears to be a Christian family. Nostalgia for real life, with a family and an activity.

India has to cope with this problem fast otherwise the country will do the same as the population: it will age in idleness and the inability to be productive and creative.


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