‘Bad uncle...’ the child whispers, shifting uneasily.
Mother glances at Neighbour – kind and respectable. No, hewouldn’t!!
She nudges her 6-year old irritably, ‘Chup*… Bad girl!‘
(An attempt to tell a story in Haiku form)
Innumerable cases of child abuse are not stopped simply because we do not believe our children enough. We brush their fears aside, thinking they are baseless. They aren’t. They never are. If a child feels that there is ‘something wrong’ or ‘something bad’ – a touch, a comment, or even a look… that just makes him/her feel uncomfortable, but is unable to express it, it is our damn duty to take up the matter seriously and investigate, and protect our children.
This post has been written for the Child Sexual abuse awareness monththeme run by the Chennai Bloggers Club.
It isn’t very often that one trembles with emotion after watching a movie. Switching channels over the weekend, I just chanced to catch a glimpse of the movie 15 Park Avenue on Sony TV. Two minutes into the movie and I could not surf and skip away to another channel. This was a compelling watch (if there is any such term!).
I’m not going to bore you with the story line, as it is already available on this link on Wikipedia. And if you do wish to watch the movie first, it is available on Youtube 🙂
But a word of caution – if you do watch the movie, you must prepare yourself for a bit of confusion when it ends. For, it ends quite abruptly, and leaves plenty to the imagination / interpretation of the viewer.
The movie was extremely disturbing. From various angles.
First, ofcourse there is Meethi, the girl suffering from schizophrenia. Konkana’s performance is absolutely fantastic! You cannot but help feel touched by her innocence and feel awful about her medical condition. It was disturbing to see how engrossed a person can be in his/her ‘own world’. When we see so-called mad people on the road, they too, are probably suffering from something like this. Its terrible even to watch. One feels sorry, sad and angry. The poor patient, starts to believe that the family that cares for her, is infact against her and prohibits her from living what is reality, for her!
The scene where Mithi is raped is gut-wrenching. Unlike Bollywood/Kollywood movies where rape is cinematised, this particular scene is taken very decently, but has immensely disturbs the viewer. One can actually empathise with the trauma of rape. One feels sick (and sad and angry) at the thought of it.
The way she is abandoned again, is so touching. I especially liked the scene, where when Jojo tries to place an arm around Meethi, she first shrinks. Then she tries to nestle into him, but when he taps her shoulder, she notices something. She realises what his true emotions are. That he does not accept her any longer! And she returns to her shell.
Second, seeing the family suffering as much as the patient herself, again disturbs you. Everything, every action, has to revolve around the patient. And all the time. It must be so demanding on the family. A myriad of emotions there.. sadness, frustration, anger, helplessness, care and love!
Third, Meethi’s fiance, Jojo who has ‘settled down’ and has a beautiful family of his own. One can visibly notice his feeling of guilt (of having abandoned Meethi), the strong emotions of his wife (fear, anxiety) and the way he is torn between his conscience and practicality.
And finally, the character of the Mother was very movingly etched. Its hard to imagine the plight of a woman, whose children are suffering from different problems. One is schizophrenic, another has broken relationships and the third just does not care!
Altogether the movie was deeply disturbing. It makes one think, if do nothing else!!
And now, the most important scene of the movie – the finale:
Where, Meethi searches for 15 Park avenue.
Meethi unites with her family, while the others are left searching for her.
I found various interpretations of the ending of the movie on the internet.
One view was that infact, it was the older sister Anjali who was schizophrenic. This does seem a little plausible, considering that Anu herself had broken relationships and the Doc always seemed to be with her. Though, I thought the Doc had a little more than professional interest in her 😉
Another interpretation was that Jojo was schizophrenic ?!! Now I don’t subscribe to this view because the character seemed to be quite straight-forward.
Now, my interpretation of the ending is:
When Meethi finally sees her home and family at ’15 Park Avenue’ she enters it. But well, all that is illusionary, so in reality, she actually just gets lost. Another name to the list of missing persons!
Anjali keeps looking for her, and keeps asking people for the ‘illusionary address’.
This is what is most striking about the movie.
Though Anu KNOWS it is not real, she believes in her sister’s delusions.
She believes that just as we live in the ‘real world’, the illusionary world of her sister’s is true too.
She believes that ’15 Park avenue’ IS a REAL address and that they will find it, and find Meethi there!!
Now that does not make her schizophrenic. While she is a strong, practical woman, this belief of hers, impractical as it sounds, is REAL to her. Again, while that is her reality, for passers-by, that again, seems to be a delusion.
So what is reality and what is delusion? Its a big big question. An unanswered one in that. Because there is no answer. Each to his own reality. Each to his/her delusions.
To me, the movie only serves to show how much reality is intertwined with what isn’t real. The delusionary Meethi finds her reality. The pratical Anjali actually believes in the delusions.
Now go watch the movie, and add your interpretations 🙂