The Japanese Wife

The Japanese Wife, a movie in English, Bengali and Hindi directed by Aparna Sen.

Snehamoy Chatterjee (Rahul Bose) lives in a remote village at the banks of river Matla along with his aunt whom he calls Mashi [Ma-shi means mother's sister in Bengali]. He had never expressed himself before Miyage, his unseen Japanese pen friend. Miyage could never spell his name and would practice to pronounce his name everyday. In his letter, he explains the meaning of his name "Sneha" means "affectionate" and "moy" means "full of", Snehamoy being affectionate.

Sneh is an Arithmetic teacher at a school. He would refer to the Bengali-English dictionary while framing sentences, he would also confess that he doesn't have a good command on English since its not his native language. Sneh and Miyage would pen down the minute happenings in their lives though they were distant apart. Sneh writes that he was caught with Malaria and survived three times; he was taking tuition classes to pay the postal charges. Miyage runs a store at her home and looks after her ill mother. She sends a polaroid camera requesting him to send a picture of his Mashi and himself.

Mashi asks for beautiful Sandhya's (Raima Sen) hand for Sneh when she is visited by her friend. Mashi is called Shoi-Ma by Sandhya. All his efforts to see shy Sandhya's face go vain. When Sneh admits this to Miyage, she offers herself as a bride. She sends him a silver wedding band with her name embossed in Japanese while Sneh sends her a packet of vermillion to be applied at the parting of her hair and a pair of conch shell bangles commonly called as Shaankha; both of them are worn by Bengali women signifying the marriage. Sneh expresses that he wouldn't be able to visit Japan since he can't afford for a ticket while Miyage wouldn't visit until her mother is fine.

Years pass by exchanging the letters. The young Sandhya, a widow, comes to stay along with them with her eight year old son, Poltu. She is always clad in a white border-less saree and pallu covering her head.

On their fifteen wedding anniversary, she sends him the beautiful colorful kites. Sneh and Poltu participate in the kite flying competition and lose.

Miyage falls sick and moves to stay with her brother. While on telephonic call, both are not able to understand each other's English. Sneh applies a long leave and visits Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and Allopathy doctors at Calcutta to find best medicine to cure her. He learns that doctors can't help much without her being here.

Sneh remains a faithful husband to his unseen Japanese wife.


Rahul Bose is always at his best. ;)

© Manasa. All rights reserved.


3 comments:

  1. cant wait to get to this movie. Thanks for the gyaan!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the book long ago, but couldnt like ti much.

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  3. How do we know, Welcome. Do watch it soon.

    Renu, Haven't read the book. So can't comment. Movie is great.

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