Koimoi Recommends The Good Wife: Who is a good wife? One who lets the wheel of patriarchy crush her, or the one who rises above? What if she does both? Validation is a word everyone craves, and more than anyone, a homemaker. Today on Koimoi recommends, I recommend a short film that will take you back to the ’90s Kolkata and make you question whether things have actually changed or not.
Director: Prataya Saha
Language: Hindi (With Subtitles)
Available On: Disney Plus Hotstar
A devoted wife is prepping for her anniversary. She goes shopping, cooks her husband’s favourite meal and gets ready. But does the husband show the same devotion towards her? A sniff makes the wife look beyond her server image and the day becomes the moment she takes the reign in her hand.
I have been always attracted to films that have nameless characters. If you even have the least of the knowledge of sketching characters, you might know the effect a name has on a character, and also its absence. In The Good Wife, writer-director Prataya Saha sketches his lead woman without a name. She represents gazillions of those women who have either succumbed to conditioning under patriarchy or chose to rise above it. A conflict and tool used in the most recent epic Malayalam film, The Great Indian Kitchen.
In The Good Wife, we meet the ‘wife’ while she is shopping for her anniversary meal. The opening shot has her slipper break but she mends it for the time being and starts walking. A subtle nod at the grinding women, who have always kept their husbands above all, no matter what. She buys fish (a thing she hates) and even cooks an elaborate menu. But a revelation happens, and everything takes a turn.
Prataya Saha, with the writing, manages to show the plight of a homemaker and what she is often rewarded with, oblivion. The ‘Good Wife’ has completely immersed herself in serving the husband, even when he comes home drunk. At a point, she even calls herself ‘sevak’ (servant). But she also craves a love that she never receives. How she wins it is a shining moment. Though set in the ’90s, it has a woman with her brain at the right place. A man’s dishonesty does not end up in her taking a drastic step to harm herself. She does think of it but also calculates the consequences. A fresh take!
With his direction, Saha manages to show the void. The empty house, almost devoid of any furniture. Everything symbolises her empty life. DOP Subha Dey creates some magnificent visuals with her lens. The camera, with crisp editing, literally gets into the head of the wife, which is a convoluted place and so are the visuals. Everything is in chaos but synchronised and you know how difficult that is to balance.
All in all, The Good Wife is a film that talks about the plight of a wife asking for love in the 1990s, but also makes a point that not much has changed. Watch it to see the good and bad of a woman. Watch it for 17 minutes and ask yourself if she really was a good wife? The short has won numerous awards and continues to do so.
Quick fact: Anshulika Kapoor who plays the ‘wife’ with a terrific gaze, is also the producer of the film!