Routed by Routine – A Different take on ​​Relationships in Bengali Cinema

— Soumalya Chakraborty

Routed by Routine - A different take on ​Relationships in Bengali Cinema Routine, monotony-expressions that terrify the ones always looking for some new experiences out of life. Those who do not like to be tied down by rules, by a formulaic existence. As long as one is free of ties and can shrug responsibilities off, being footloose and happy-go-lucky works. However, as soon as a relationship comes into the picture, things change. Both people involved are required to make some changes in their respective lives and here’s where things could get a little tricky for someone who abhors monotony.

The theme of things being too normal and hence, boring, comes up time and again in Bengali cinema of late. When one thinks of a relationship breaking down, monotony rarely comes to mind as being the reason behind it. Outwardly, everything might seem fine. There are no quarrels, no third person, no issues whatsoever-but somewhere down the line, a relationship going from a brand new experience to a habit, influences the decision of one or the other party to seek something new.

A lot of times, this seems baffling to the older generation who grew up with the concept of set responsibilities and diligently following the rules laid out to them. Deep down, they have also experienced the flame of romance and adventure wither and die. However, very few people had the mindset to openly express and do something about it. They adapted to the routine and considered it their duty.

This era, however, is more vocal about it, having had access to greater freedom, financial independence and a critical take on erstwhile roles and responsibilities. For someone on a quest to continuously reinvent himself/herself and always on the lookout for something fresh from life eventually find themselves smothered by a mundane existence and seek ways to get out of it.

The movie “Belaseshe” portrays how someone, after being in a marriage for 49 years, can find themselves tiring of it and wanting to reinvent the institution, finding a new dimension within it in the process. In the same movie, another couple, portrayed by Rituparna Sengupta and Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee, displays how the same lack of excitement and involvement entices one of them towards an extra marital affair.

In Rituporno Ghosh’s “Abohomaan”, when Mamata Shankar finds out about her husband’s affair with Ananya Chatterjee, she states that there was no adventure, no excitement in their marriage. They never bunked classes to watch movies, never gave false excuses to spend a weekend away from their families, and thus, her husband must be compensating for the experiences he missed with his wife.

As cinema scales new heights, more dimensions of human nature are being brought out to the open. While the audience debates over whether such views are proper and their repercussions, at the end of the day, it all boils down to more food for thought and diversity in cinematic themes.