Everything Is Fine
Starring Seema Bhargava Pahwa, Paloma Ghosh
Directed by Mansi Nirmal Jain
Rating: *** ½
Sometimes a performance towers so above the parent-product that it tends to blur the other assets of that product. Not so in Everything Is Fine, an 18-minute short film with very long sturdy legs.
It is a deceptively simple scenario. A couple 35 years into their marriage, pays their earning daughter in Delhi a visit. The mother brings with her a lot of baggage. And I don’t mean the pickles and the snacks for the daughter. We soon realize that the father is not an important character in this family affair. At least not in the way they are in films about splintered marriages. He is deliberately kept at a hazy distance as a nagging annoying emblem of spousal bullying which after 35 years seems normal.
Not to this wife, though. In the night that her parents arrive daughter Natasha (Paloma Ghosh) finds her mother sobbing on the rooftop. A little probing and Mom says she can’t stay in her marriage any more and could she move in with her daughter permanently?
This is where I found myself a little distressed by the daughter’s surprising but not a completely unexpected response. Instead of coming forward to hold her mother’s hand in what’s clearly the mother’s life-changing meltdown moment, the daughter in all her selfish glory, tells the mother to stop overreacting and just sleep over it.
The next morning mom takes off on her own to do the things she wants to in Delhi, like buy that inexpensive jooti on the roadside, go for a boat ride…simple pleasures that her husband robbed her of. In that one short visit to Delhi Seema Bhargava brings to the screen all the accumulated hurt of the character’s 35 years where she has smothered all her desires, big or small.
Roaming alone in Delhi’s chor bazaar she calls her daughter and says, “If you couldn’t support at least you could give me company.” Loaded words, those.
This is a film that conveys much more than what we see on screen. There are streams of unexpressed resentment and thwarted desires running through the narrative. I wanted to know more about this woman’s life because she is so faceless, so nondescript, and that’s why so special.
Watch this short film , not only for its cogent central performance but also because it tells us so much about the crushed dreams of an average everyday housewife in so little playing time.