In Life Goes On Sharmila dies suddenly, leaving her family grieving and trying to come to terms with the death. Find out full review:
Business Rating: Half
Star cast: Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan, Girish Karnad, Om Puri.
What’s Good: The acting; some poignant moments; the camerawork.
What’s Bad: The depressing nature of the story; lack of entertainment.
Verdict: LIFE GOES ON will bomb at the box-office as it lacks commercial value.
Loo break: Not really.
Stormglass Productions Pvt. Ltd. and SDP Films LLP’s Life Goes On (English) is about a family’s struggle to come to terms with the death of a member.
Manju Bodhi Banerjee (Sharmila Tagore) is a caring wife and a loving and understanding mother. She lives in London with her husband. Her husband, Sanjay (Girish Karnad), is a doctor and a renowned name among Indians and, especially, Hindus living in London. He hates Muslims with a vengeance because he had seen the atrocities perpetrated by his close Muslim friend and other Muslims on Hindus during Partition in India. Her eldest daughter, Lolita (Mukulika Banerjee), is struggling to keep her marriage going even as her Christian husband, John (Christopher Hatherall) is facing crisis at his work place and, therefore, has no time for her and their two little children. Tuli (Neerja Naik), the second daughter, is so career-minded that she has no time for the family. She is sad, she had not met her mother for several weeks and now, it is too late. She is in a lesbian relationship with a foreigner (Stephen Patten). Dia (Soha Ali Khan), the youngest daughter, is a theatre actor. She is in love with a Muslim boy, Imtiaz (Rez Kempton) and had confided in her mother about her carrying his child. The mother had tried to brainwash her into aborting the foetus but Dia had been adamant. Before the mother could break the shocking news of Dia’s Muslim lover and pregnancy to the father, she had died. Alok (Om Puri) is a dear family friend of the Banerjees and had been very fond of Manju Bodhi.
Sangeeta Datta’s script oscillates between the present and the past, showing Manju Bodhi’s interactions with her family members and how well she handled difficult situations. It keeps going into flashback mode at irregular intervals.
By its very nature, the story is depressing because it deals with a family trying to come to terms with a loved one’s death. Not just that, each of the three daughters is in a situation that’s far from happy. However, to her credit, Sangeeta Datta has penned a script that is quite real and touching. The problem, however, is that after a point of time, Manju Bodhi’s death no longer remains the focal point as the drama veers towards the individual problems of the three daughters, especially the love affair of Dia with a Muslim guy. In other words, death or no death, the problems of the three ladies would have been the same, with no evident solutions in sight.
Since the film is in English, its appeal would be restricted to the English-speaking audience only. There are some dialogues and songs in Bengali and Hindi but they are all subtitled in English.
Sharmila Tagore is grace personified. She looks elegant and pretty and plays her character ably. Girish Karnad is very natural. Soha Ali Khan lives the role of Dia. Om Puri is endearing. Mukulika Banerjee performs very well. Neerja Naik does a fair job. Rez Kempton is alright. Christopher Hatherall is natural. Stephen Patten is okay.
Sangeeta Datta’s narrative style goes well with the script. In spite of being a depressing story, it doesn’t have dull moments. Soumik Datta’s music has melancholy. Lyrics (Rabindranath Tagore, Javed Akhtar and Fiona Bevan) are appropriate. Background score is effective. Camerawork (Robert Shacklady and Avik Mukhopadhyay) is splendid. Sets (Vipul Sangoi) are nice. Editing (Arghyakamal Mitra) is effec- tive.
On the whole, Life Goes On is a well-made film but not of the kind which can work at the box-office. Commercially, it will spell disaster.