In the age of Facebook, Orkut and other such social networking sites, where we make friends from all over the world, but are never really in touch with them, release of Aparna Sen’s new film, The Japanese Wife comes as a breathe of fresh air as it reinforces the importance of pen friendship. The Japanese Wife is a story of pen friendship that evolved into a full-fledged romance eventually, and for this sheer improvisation and the manner in which the subject has been dealt by Aparna Sen, makes it a film worth watching out for.
When we have forgotten the art of the written word, through The Japanese Wife the notion could be resurrected in a romantic manner and also would emphasize the futility of the text messaging and the email that does not have the soul that a letter written but forgotten in the annals of a book evokes when the book is leafed through after 10-15 years. The longevity of a communication can survive only through a written word, and while e-mails also facilitate the same, as they have a rather sanitized ambience do not invoke the same passion as a letter that flows out from a paper. After all how much different can the message box be, but a letter can be written on different forms of papers.
The Japanese Wife is adapted from Kaushik Basu’s novel of the same name and underlines the fact that if the novels are adapted in a sensitive manner, as Aparna Sen has done with The Japanese Wife, then the quest for content, which Hindi cinema is running after, should not be such a big issue. Writers in India are churning out fantastic works, but they need to be adapted in a sensitive manner so that they do not loose the flavor. Aparna Sen has done it with aplomb through her new offering.
In the Indian cinema art of letter writing has played an important role for quite a long time and there are scores of films and songs that bear ample testimony to this fact. Besides, the importance of The Japanese Wife also lies in the fact that in the times when urbanism is underlined through scores of films, it tries to change the context and move to rural India, the real India and therefore has a sense of innocence to its approach which is lacking in the films made these days.
By: Suman Rai