Saturday, 24 March 2012

Better Half - A Gujarati film by Ashish Kakkad

'Better Half' is a beautiful tale of friendship, marriage and companionship. Although in Gujarati and set in the capital, Ahmedabad, this film speaks many languages and is appreciated by many all over the world. It depicts the discrepancies between traditional and cultural versus modern society's thoughts and values on marriage and married life, in a simple but powerful way.

The film opens with the main character, Manav, as he prepares to move to the city in order to start a new role in his career. Right from the start, we see his family lovingly tease him on thinking about settling down with a wife. Manav is in no rush to get married and believes that meeting someone ought to be natural; he wouldn't dream of marrying just to settle down in a traditional family unit. Manav makes it clear that he would  much rather have a lifetime companion to share his life with.

Love does indeed creep up on Manav, and when he least expects it. We follow Manav's journey in love as he marries the girl he falls for and as the newleyweds marry, each of them learns the harsh reality. Many things get in the way of love: household chores, misunderstandings and the chaotic career life. As well as this, financial difficulties put a strain on their marriage. What both Kamini and Manav soon learn is that love is no bed of roses and that compromises are a must when it comes to happiness.

'Better Half' teaches us the values that should be learned and digested, whether we are from the older generation and living a simple countryside life, or a young professional living a hectic city life. Full of natural city life scenes, customs and surroundings, this film not only kicks you with nostalgia, it brings a touch of realism. There is even some music and dreamy scenes for the romantic film aficionados amongst you. All lyrics are written by Chirag Tripathi . Multi-talented, Kakkad, even features as a voice-over for a few of the characters that feature in the film.

What I most like about this film, is watching how the characters grow and develop. There isn't a particular siding or focus on any one character, as each of them plays an important role and have a voice in the film's message. This reflects how every individual, whether in society, family or in the workplace, has a distinct role and importance, and without one individual, the unit would crumble. One scene I particularly liked that highlights just this, is where Manav's mother is consoling her daughter in law and supporting her rather than taking the side of her son. Her character breaks the norm of the stereotypical unsupportive mother-in-law in the Indian family unit. 'Better Half' also reminds us about challenges and compromises one should learn to make in life in order to live harmoniously  Furthermore, the notion that everyone must work together to be happier and improved is also evoked. There is plenty of food for thought in this film.

An absolute delight of a film that can be enjoyed by all, young or old. A hearty congratulations to Ashish Kakkad for bringing a fresh breath of air to the Indian film industry, may there be many more ahead.

"Marriage has some thorns, but celibacy has no roses." - Vernon K McLellan.

"Unbroken happiness is a bore. It should have its ups and downs." - Moliere.

1 comment:

  1. Not seen yet the movie. But knowing Ashishji on FB and seen one song on You Tube...sure that it would be not only worth watching, but as you stated making one (especially the young generation)enlightened about love and life.