Monday, January 09, 2006

Exquisite Comforts On Wintry Nights

You don’t need the papers to inform you that Delhi has hit rock-bottom in the temperature scales. You know it when:
  • Your eyes strain to read the day’s paper since it can’t keep from bouncing in your frozen hands
  • You lie shriveled up for no less than 15 minutes after you have hit the bed, in spite of the combined warmth of 3 heavy quilts
  • You curse science for having advanced so much, yet not having done all it takes to design a contraption that goes “Dry Bath” or better still “Dry Brush”
  • You scare family any time of the day with feline mewls that are born in the deepest darkest recesses of your chilled spine.

But all’s not lost, folks. Some warmth on the freezing Sunday evening with an excellent film on Star Movies. Ladies In Lavender is the story of two sisters who spend their years in the beautiful idyll of the English countryside in the backdrop of the Second World War. They lead a private life unencumbered by demands of space/ time until one day, a Polish soldier appears at their shores (literally), wounded and in need of immediate attention. Andrea (Daniel Brühl) who cannot speak a word of English, brings joy and life to the dreary Widdington household. He is a gifted violin player, a discovery that is made serendipitously by Ursula- played exactingly well by Dame Judi Dench. Ursula is a spinster who develops a special romantic bond for Andrea. Dench breathes life into the trials and tribulations of an impulsive character. She is most effective in her solitary scenes - standing by the window, sitting on the riverside, gazing at the sunset. Her spare look reminds you of her path breaking performance in Iris though Ursula is as different from the firebrand literary figure as chalk from cheese. Maggie Smith towers as the meticulous Janet with a hard exterior but a heart of gold within. Their chemistry works in highlighting the joys and irritants, the crests and troughs of a lifelong relationship.

Andrea ultimately goes away leaving the sisters, especially Ursula in a state of heightened noble grief. The ending captures the void left by his departure and the return of the sisters to their erstwhile pristine state, shorn of beguiling strangers and punishing desires. Release at the end of it all.


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