WINDOW ON CANADA
A Film that explores the depth of relationships
By Ashish Mathur
GlobalomNet Media Service
Recently, Torontonians had the opportunity to the first- hand viewing of Somnath Sen’s film ‘Leela’, at the ReelWorld Film Festival - thanks to the incredible efforts of Mohit Rajhans - ReelWorld Program Director. Made in just 25days with a modest budget, this is Sen’s first major film.
‘Leela’ is the story of relationships and the journey called life. Leela (Dimple Kapadia) a professor at Bombay University takes an assignment to teach South Asian history as a visiting professor at a university in California, USA. She leaves behind her ‘shair’ husband Nashaad (Vinod Khanna) to find her own space and happiness, with a promise that she would write to him everyday. There she comes in contact with her student Kris (Amol Mhatre), an 18year old Indo-American, caught in his identity crisis. Leela becomes friends with Chaitali (Deepti Naval), Kris’ mother, who is also a professor in that university. Chaitali has a typical independent outlook towards life as she left her husband Jai (Gulshan Grover) when she found out that the only place she occupied in her husband’s life was to maintain the house and cook food. A single mother, she is helping son Kris to grow under her vigilant eyes. When Leela tells her about her ‘open’ marriage with Nashaad, who has a roving eye and is very popular among his female fans, Chaitali emphatically tells Leela to “leave that bastard”.
oblivious of his roots from India, mocks
the country and its traditions,
while Leela’s soul is full of her rich culture and heritage.
Kris never wants to visit India,
while Leela has no intention of staying back in the US. Kris is
attracted to Leela and takes the challenge from his friends to sleep with
her. As they support each other and get intimate, they convert each other.
He instills in her the power and strength to be an independent woman with
her own identity, while she
arouses in him the desire to
go to India to explore his innerself.
is the story of Leela’s journey to find her fulfillment and happiness as
she decides to stay back in US. It is the story of Kris’ journey as he
wants to re-discover himself and his coming of age- as there is more to
life. It is the story of Chaitali who finds herself torn and confused as
she discovers the affair of her son with an older woman.
Overall, Leela is a fantastic film, exploring the depth of relationships.
Director Somnath Sen has done a wonderful job in his maiden directorial debut. Dimple has acted very well. The role is tailor-made for her and she carries it with total grace and perfection, though one may find similarities in her role in Dil Chahta Hai.
It was pleasure to watch Deepti Naval after a long time. Considering her complex character in the film, she does full justice to it. This is the first feature film of young Amol Mhatre and he did a perfect job opposite such seasoned actors. Gulshan Grover surprises with a different facet of his talent. The role of ‘shair’ Nashaad Dehlvi perfectly suited Vinod Khanna’s personality.
highlight of Leela is its music. Lyrics by Gulzar and music by Jagjit
Singh make for the perfect combination. Jagjit Singh renders some
beautiful ghazals and it was pleasure to hear Shubha Mudgal singing
classical style instead of her usual Hindi pop music. When released, the
audio would definitely be worth possessing.
is not the regular NRI-based formula story. It is a sensitive film with a
soul that everybody would like. Leela is due for commercial release in the
next couple of months and would be worth watching out for.