আমি তোর মা নই। তোর বাবার বান্ধবী।
(I am not your mother; your father’s girlfriend.)
What is the right time to tell your son that you are not his mother but someone else is? Well, it may not matter in the western world, in conservative Bengali society it matters even today. Our children are not used to knowing a different parent as their biological parent. So, in adolescent years when it matters the most when one’s mind knows no bounds, such secrets can bring sweeping changes in one’s life.
His father told him, “Every person has a secret and that secret needs to be guarded well, otherwise, the society will turn very ugly”. Anal (অনল, Bengali for ‘Fire’, both ‘a’ pronounced as the ‘a’ in ‘all’), in the midst of his adolescence, didn’t understand that completely but he realized that private matters need to be kept secret from the world. In an era of showing-off, it’s an important lesson for a teenager. When you make your personal life public, then there remains nothing personal in you. Your value reduces to the value of a cheap commodity. That is why ‘sex’ is always kept secret. One’s desires to watch porn or desires to have wild sex as shown in porn films are also kept secret and well-guarded.
Anal was just caught in his school by his Maths teacher when his smartphone sounded off accidentally during a class. The teacher seized his phone and found some newly downloaded porn videos. The school was shocked, his parents were shamed and then when everyone was bashing him for his porn collection, his father took him to his room and told him why he needed to guard his secrets.
Adolescence is a period when every child gets introduced to sexual matters. In India it happens mostly through friends, siblings and same-age relatives. The hormonal change that drives immense sexual urge in adolescents, pornographic sites and availability of internet aggravate this to almost perversion. But that seems so natural that adolescents hardly understand what to do with their urge. While some people stress on introducing sex education to young adults like Anal, most people are not sure about the method of doing so. In this confusion, pornography becomes a source of sex education for these children. Very often that leads to perversion and imposition of wrong education.
When Anal was repenting his secrets being out but was still celebrating his sex-education from a local seller of porn videos, his father died in an accident. The heaven came crashing on him. The man who loved him the most, the man who has handled most difficult situations with ease for him, was no more. The man whom he loved and respected was no more.
The death of his father impacted him the most. Anal, went into a shell and didn’t want to express his sorrow with one. Meanwhile, he came across a box that carried all his father’s secrets. His love letters, gifts from girlfriends, and one USB drive.
Anal was missing his father the most. These were his father’s memories. He wanted to endorse those and get his father back to him. He was curious to see what was there in his Father’s USB drive. Among several videos, he found two very intimate videos of his father with another woman. The scantily dressed woman was seducing his father with her sex appeal. Both videos with intimate scenes were so much natural, so much sensual, that it lit up a fire in him. Those were his best porn collection. He stopped going to his regular ‘thek’ (Bengali word to describe a place one visits frequently with friends to gossip) and told everyone that he has the best ever porn now and didn’t need those artificial porn videos anymore.
Anal’s adolescent mind started fantasizing that woman in his father’s intimate video as his own sex partner and perform all those sexy moves with him. The passion was so much from inside that he started taking alcohol and smoking. One day he tried to have phone sex with his girl-friend as an alternative.
When Anal was fighting a war within, his mother realized that he was going away from her. So, one night when Anal came home drunk, she confronted. But he revolted even violently. He accused her that she didn’t take care of him well after his father’s death. She accused that she never came to him asking for what he wanted. He believed that he was born out of the ‘fun’ between her and his father. He was born out of an accident rather than a bond between a loving couple and hence she never bothered about his well-being.
His mother broke her silence then. She told those words –
আমি তোর মা নই। তোর বাবার বান্ধবী।
(I am not your mother; your father’s girlfriend.)
She narrated his real past. A story that Anal have never imagined, a reality that turned Anal’s world upside down. She handed over an album of Anal’s father’s marriage to him.
After watching the intimate videos of his father, Anal thought that his father was a womanizer who slept with many women including his mother and he was born out of an accident. He thought, his parents were forced to marry because he was born, but this marriage album completely reversed his thought because as he turned it’s pages the photo of the bride or his biological mother was shocking. It was the same woman that Anal has seen in those intimate videos of his father. It was that woman who was seducing his father in those videos. It was the same woman whom he fantasized as seducing him as well. Her sex appeal was so domineering that Anal masturbated imaging her in his bed. It was the same woman he wanted to have sex with.
Hormonal changes during our teenage can drive us crazy. We want to be independent, our thoughts go wild; the overdrive of Testosterone can make us boys, do crazy things. That is why all parents remain worried and more watchful during their children’s adolescence.
But the reality could not be more shocking for a teenaged Anal than this. It was a feeling of deep shame that engulfed him. He fantasized his own mother as a sex object. That shame was nowhere to hide. He wanted to run away from himself, but he didn’t know where to hide.
This movie Pornomochi, (পর্ণমোচী, Bengali for a deciduous tree that means a tree that sheds its leaves in winter and gets new leaves in next summer) by Writer-Director Kaushik Kar and Producer Avirup Ghatak of Anushka Film and Entertainment has Rwitobroto Mukherjee in the lead role of Anal. Noted Bengali actor Anindya Banerjee played the role of his father and Santilal Mukherjee played the role of a police inspector who had a teen age daughter. Since the movie revolved around teenage psychology and changes, this tried to show changes in both genders and their interest in sexual matters, but the focus was on boys. Other cast members that impressed the audience were Koneenica Banerjee as the wife of Santilal Mukherjee (the police officer father of a teenage girl) and Ankita Chakraborty as the mother of Anal.
The film Parnomochi (পর্ণমোচী) also highlights our wild fantasies in our adult ages as well. For example, after the porn videos were seized from Anal, other teachers also wanted the Maths teacher to share that with them. It also showed harmful effects of porn addiction in adult married lives. Santilal (the police inspector) used to watch porn at night. He didn’t like the chubby and not so perfect body of his wife. So, he used to shame her for that and their relationship was in shambles. One day his wife also watched porn and told him about how those male porn stars had so much more stamina than him. In a way, this told us that watching porn and fantasizing the same in one’s own life may bring disaster in our personal lives.
This is very important in today’s highly sexualized world as boys need to be taught in a way so that they don’t get diverted to the wrong path. This is the reason sex-education becomes important. But in Indian society, still, there is multiple thought processes as to how to impart sex-education.
Parnomochi (পর্ণমোচী) called out those problems of Indian society and showed the need of how we need to enact our roles to our teenage boys. This movie never tried to give any unsolicited advice but showed some possibilities of the ways we need to handle this. Normally parents scold their children for watching porn, but it is also important to tell their teenage children why it is important certain things like porn and sex very private. It taught us why sex is not something that can be widely shared and why those private moments need to be kept private, hidden from the world.
Pornomochi (পর্ণমোচী) showed us the need for every parent to be watchful to their teenage children and regulate their urges. The movie tells our youth why not to indulge in too much of sense-gratification or be open about it because when it becomes public, their intimate life becomes public and that becomes very nasty. This is important in today’s liberal world where Indian mothers don’t hesitate to have sex in front of their children or with their children. Even Indian society in general and Bengali society in particular are highly infected with this feminist bug. Pornomochi (পর্ণমোচী) shows the ill-effects of such parental behavior to us. So far, there was hardly any movie in any Indian language that showed us these issues a teenage child may face. That way Parnomochi (পর্ণমোচী) sets a pioneering example.
This movie, however, was not very successful in box office or did not get very good rating in different platforms. It’s rating on different platforms on the day of writing this article were –
Bookmyshow rating 3.7/5
Eisamoy rating – 3/5
IMDb rating – 7.8/10
But irrespective of the ratings and views, when we see Parnomochi (পর্ণমোচী), we understand it’s value and the value increase manyfolds because this movie was released when it was needed the most; when India was becoming highly sexualized and getting indulged in a sexual atmosphere.
In the end, Pornomochi (পর্ণমোচী) teaches one very important lesson to us taking life’s example from deciduous trees. Our lives maybe full of pain, sorrow, joy, grief and all other different feelings, but we need shed all negativity and take rebirth into a new existence. A valuable lesson that can help solve many of our problems.
*Read all other movie reviews – here