Bharya Swantham Suhruthu

Bharya, Swantham Suhruthu is a tale of disloyalty, betrayal and redemption that splutters and smokes, but never really catches fire.

Kariachan (Jagathy Sreekumar) must lead a life of contentment, the world presumes, even as the man finds himself lost in a labyrinth of boredom and inactivity. Having lived about half a century for a devoted wife (Urvasi) and a daughter who has just entered her teens, Kariachan realizes that something or rather someone is seriously amiss from his life.

Essentially, it’s all about your wife being your bestest friend and all that sickly stuff that matrimonial ads are made of. I was intrigued though, by another very important query that the film posed at a deeper level, perhaps quite unintentionally. A few years and perhaps a fifty years into a marriage, how many of us even have an inkling of what goes on through the mind of the person for whom our wedding bells had tolled.

The insight into marriage that the film offers is apparent and often downright obvious. There is the middle-aged man who has just turned fifty who feels the need for a genuine company as he grows older by the day. There is a subtle exploration of the dynamics of sex and emotional connections in a marriage that he has been in for the past several years.

I wonder if the makers would agree, but this one is low-key film noir that really wants to be a drama about the struggle to remain in a long-term monogamous relationship. Without a second thought they bring in a sexy siren and cook up an infidelity story that should help change the man’s perspective once and for all. And as anticipated, the new woman in question is no ordinary lady out there to add some color to her life; rather she’s the femme fatale armed with nothing less than camcorders and what not to make your life a seething hell.

At times, one does feel that the twisted maze which gradually causes the film’s relationships to fall apart is carefully crafted. And yet, eventually it turns out to be an over worked up melodrama that irregularly changes lanes into comedy, and ends up as an incoherent jumble of incompatible impulses.

I take particular offence to that crass joke on the cow being named Shakeela. Give her a break folks, and let her live in peace. And I certainly don’t mean the cow.

It’s quite often seen that even movies that dare to sketch real shady pictures of the sacred institution can’t resist venerating it in the end. Here the ethical grounds are never shaky; the film does believe in things that are morally upright and certainly doesn’t in things that are not. And it’s least interested in things that lie somewhere between.

There is something fascinating about the outrageousness and candor that a film like ‘Husbands & Wives’ propagates. Woody Allen’s treatise on marital ‘bliss’ is blatantly fierce when questioning those real truths underlying most marriages. And it’s this ferocity that Nagavally’s film fatally lacks.

Cast: Mukesh, Padmapriya, Urvashi, Jagathy
Director: Venu Nagavally
Lyrics: O N V Kurup

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