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Revisiting Rituparno Ghosh Dosar

Revisiting Rituparno Ghosh's Dosar

Shanku Sharma

Films dealing with extramarital affairs are rare, and even rarer are movies dealing seriously with extramarital affairs. One such movie that comes to mind is Rituparno Ghosh’s Dosar (2006), a black-and-white emotional film centered on a married Kaushik Chatterjee (Prosenjit Chatterjee), his wife Kaberi Chatterjee (Konkona Sen Sharma), and his extramarital affair with his colleague (a married woman, Mita Roy, played by Chandrayee Ghosh). The film deals with the issue intensely, and never disappoints at any point. There are ways to look at Dosar. Kaushik and Mita meet in a car accident, which proves fatal for Mita. The accident brings to light their affair before Kaberi and Mita’s husband (played by Shankar Chakraborty). Mita is the mother of a little boy. Though Kaushik survives, he now has to face Kaberi. Mita is gone, and thus saved from all sorts of humiliation and troubling questions. There, her husband struggles to come to terms. On one hand, he is without a companion now, and on the other, he cannot even ask questions to his wife about the affair.

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The genius of the National Award-winning Ghosh lies in the way he deals with extramarital affairs and feelings of remorse and regret in Dosar. Kaushik is not only physically broken; he is also mentally wrecked. The scenes featuring Kaushik are full of palpable tension. We do not know when would Kaberi react and put questions to him. The beauty of Dosar (the word translates to emotional companion) lies in the way Ghosh treats and addresses extramarital affairs and their consequences in the lives of the protagonists. Shot in black-and-white, Dosar deals with how Kaushik gets caught in his own predicament. He has to reconcile with the death of his love and also restore Kaberi’s trust. At no point in time will you find the characters inviting wrath or feelings of hatred. You sympathise not only with Kaberi but also with Kaushik. Though Kaberi threatens to leave Kaushik, the wife within her overpowers her. Kaberi’s duties towards Kaushik at the time of crisis (Kaushik’s almost fatal accident) stop her from leaving him.

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Though, a broken Kaberi does not pay heed to her inner feelings of jealousy, curiosity, and anger as she goes through the messages exchanged between Kaushik and Mita. One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when Kaberi reads one of the messages, which is a haunting poem, ‘tomar tuth amar tuth chulo…’, and she breaks down. She is left with no option but to serve her husband. As mentioned earlier, there are ways to look at Dosar. There can be multiple points of view. On one hand, Kaberi staggers to even imagine her husband’s extramarital affair with Mita, and on the other hand, she supports the extramarital affairs of her theatre group friends Bobby (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Brinda (Pallavi Chatterjee). Bobby, an unmarried man, falls in love with Brinda, a married woman who is unhappy. Kaberi calls them to her house and tries to help them sort out their issues. So, one cannot easily sympathise with her. The technical part of the film has been handled with extreme delicacy.

As mentioned, the film has been shot in black-and-white, which adds extra appeal to the film’s overall melancholy tone. Darkness prevails in the characters’ lives. Hidden emotions, inner desires, and feelings of penitence have been depicted very well, Dosar is not a psychological thriller, but it is certainly psychologically challenging. Camerawork, editing (the film length is just over two hours), and the background score lend intensity to the already intense film. Prosenjit and Konkona deliver stellar performances. The scenes of a bedridden Kaushik express a lot. It is Prosenjit’s exceptional acting skills that come in handy in those scenes. Ghosh deserves a special mention for dealing with such an issue with sensibility, subtlety, nuance, finesse, and refinement.

Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.

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