|“||for what shall i wield a dagger, o lord? |
what can i pluck it out of
or plunge it into
when you are all the world?
— 10th century Indian poet and saint, Devera Dasimayya
When Mr. and Mrs. iyer released in 2002 it somehow just failed to generate any interest in me. Thought of it as just one of those other Indian English films, made by some foolish director. Saw bits and pieces of it, and completely forgot about it.Until two years ago, when they showed it on some vague channel(which ceased to exist). I just had to watch it. I remember being glued to the television watching the movie late into the night, in spite of the annoying ads which appeared every five minutes.I would have seen the film at least another 3-4 times, and till date it remains one of my favorite Indian films.
Watching the movie times and over, I've always discovered something new in it. Like the second time I saw it, I was completely bowled over by Konkona Sensharma's stellar performance.Or certain little nuances in the film...Everything is so intricately woven into one another. Or even the saying by the poet, which appears in the beginning of the film, which I was quite ignorant about, till recent, thinking it was just pretentious,and wanted to sound profound.
At heart, the film is just a love story.Two people on a bus journey, falling in love during times of violence.Every scene in the film is underlined with some form of religious-political element, which sometime seems a little over-done.Maybe, it was meant to be an undertone, but somehow just sticks out.For that matter, even some of the English dialogues, they just don't sound natural.Very theatrical.But otherwise, the film is brilliant.Rahul Bose gives a very restrained and understated performance as the liberal Muslim wildlife photographer.Some really good acting by the supporting cast as well, especially Bhisham Sahani and Surekha Sikri, as the old Muslim couple. Has so many layers to it, only seen or noticed after multiple viewings.Goutham Ghose captures the Himalayan foothills,with his beautiful photography. Zakhir Hussain's music just flows with the film.For the kind of issue it addresses, Mr. and Mrs. iyer will be relevant any given day.