Most films that depict mental illnesses are focussed on the condition alone. Illustrating the symptoms and Idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, they end up exaggerating the patient's affliction and colouring them as dysfunctional beings unable to integrate with society. But few films have managed to sensitively portray mental patients through a lens that dosent underplay their compromised facilties. 15 Park Avenue is one such film.
Lost and Found
Last Updated: 07.02 AM, Oct 20, 2022
Most films that depict mental illnesses are focussed on the condition alone. Illustrating the symptoms and idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, they end up exaggerating the patient’s affliction and coloring them as dysfunctional beings unable to integrate with society. But few films have managed to sensitively portray mental patients through a lens that doesn’t underplay their compromised faculties but also, throws light on the pragmatic outlook that their caregivers tend to adopt. 15 Park Avenue is surely one such film and it’s our Lost and Found for today.
This film revolves around Mitali, a 20-something schizophrenic who firmly believes in her delusion. In her imaginary life, she’s a busy journalist with the Illustrated weekly and a mum of five. She’s also under the impression that she’s writing a book on physics. And the film’s title happens to be the imaginary address of where she believes her home to be.
Mitali is cared for by her pragmatic elder sister Anjali, a professor who has set her own life on hold to provide for her. As it turns out, Mitali’s condition was triggered by a tragic event that led to irreversible damage. Even her fiance, while initially supportive, eventually turns her away as he’s unable to accept her altered condition. A chance meeting with him years later, triggers a sense of guilt and concern that draws him to delve into her delusion. Not to encourage or reaffirm her imaginary world but to at least placate her momentarily.
Aparna Sen, who won a National Award for the film, has forever woven stories in an immersive style. Allowing the audience a vantage point that throws them right into the proceedings, her films have effectively projected the emotions of those on the screen. Konkona Sen Sharma is flawless as Mitali and Shabana Azmi pulls one of her most compelling supporting performances of her career as her concerned yet composed sister Anjali. This film scores particularly for not resorting to tropes and allowing the narrative to flow naturally, even if the pace occasionally gets a bit sluggish. Rahul Bose, Waheeda Rehman and Kanwaljeet Singh also contribute as strong peripheral characters.
You should be forewarned, this is not an easy film to sit through. It's a heartbreaking story that ends on an ambiguous yet optimistic note.
You can watch this film here.
Well that's the OTTplay Lost and Found for today until the next time it's your host Nikhil signing out.
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Written by Kunal Guha