An Indian film all about the hope and happiness of queer identities
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
Set in Kolkata, India, Season’s Greetings is a complex mother and daughter drama that deals with various LGBTQI issues such as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality, in a subtle yet powerful way. It’s both poetic and mesmerising in its exploration of Hindu-Muslim marriage, transgender acceptance and marital commitment.
Season’s Greetings is a hidden gem, directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and certainly deserves a place on your lockdown watch-list.
The 45 minute film follows the life of Romita (Celina Jaitly Haag), who decides to introduce her partner, Usmaan (Azhar Khan) to her mother Suchitra (Lillette Dubey).
The loved up pair visit Suchitra, who lives alone after being separated from her husband. Music has become her only companion as her daughter lives in a different city, but she finds support from her transgender house-keeper, Chapala (Shree Ghatak).
Suchitra welcomes her daughter and her fiancee with open arms, preparing a five course Bengali meal and wine as they embark on this opportunity to get to know each other.
The family reunion is fraught with tension and twists. The daughter’s misgivings about tackling abandonment issues from her dad and her single mother simmers during their dinner. Each twist and turn throughout the film welcomes a new conversation about queer life in India in an incredibly powerful way.
While Romita thinks she is the one waiting to surprise her mother with Usmaan’s presence in her life, she doesn’t realise that her mother has bigger surprises in store for her. The story revolves around the changing dynamics of a mother and daughter relationships, which seems perfect until the cracks of societal pressure begin to show on the surface.
Season’s Greetings comes as a tribute to the celebrated filmmaker, Rituparno Ghosh, and for cinema lovers it feels familiar to see the fleeting references and overlaps with Ghosh’s films.
Every character in the film, in his or her own way, is trying to bring certain changes into society. You emotionally connect with them throughout the film as their struggles are all relatable aspects to any member of the LGBTQI community.
The conversations all feel real, natural and honest as the script touches on the many contemporary social aspects that need to be addressed in India.
It comes as no surprise that Season’s Greetings has already been critically acclaimed at various national and international film festivals, including the prestigious Cardiff International Film Festival and Rajasthan International Film Festival earlier this year.
In just 45 minutes, Season’s Greetings will manage to warm your heart and make you realise just how fragile the bond of human relationships are. If there’s one queer film you should watch to celebrate this Pride Month, make sure it’s this one!
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