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Phire Eso Prem – Where Love Has Gone

by Chandan Sen

An elderly couple, Sukhamoy and Anurupa lead a lonely life in their house at Salt Lake, Kolkata. Their sons live abroad with their families. Into their humdrum existence, out of the blue, burst in Sukhamoy’s small-town nephew, Amal and his family consisting of wife, Manju and children Jhimli and Jhantu. They come unannounced, inviting themselves to Sukhamoy’s large house. Jhantu suffers from a bad eye condition and Amal hopes to take him to a specialist doctor at Kolkata with the help of his uncle.

Initially, all hell breaks loose at the children’s mischief. Most perturbed by the additional burden of hospitality, is the long standing servant of the house, Sadashiv. However, it is not long before both Sukhamoy and Anurupa are won over by the antics of the children and the immediate and earthy affection of Amal and Manju. The visitors on the other hand, initially awed by their well-off surroundings, slowly settle down. The house fills with long-absent fun and laughter.

Sukhamoy and Anurupa seek to fill the gap left behind by their sons, with the visitors. The family physician and friend, Dr Sen Gupta pays a visit. He is troubled by the separation of his daughter Reshmi from her husband. Reshmi later comes to visit and we learn that she is ready to enter into another relationship, in keeping with modern times in urban settings.

Amal and his family seem so old-fashioned by comparison. The elderly couple grows very fond of them, even offering to keep Jhantu and to get him the best medical attention. During a lunar eclipse, all family members assemble on the roof terrace. Manju believes that an eclipse is a propitious occasion to call one’s dear departed, who would then surely answer back. Sukhamoy is unconvinced but Anurupa gives in. Who do they call? What happens at the climactic moment? What conclusion does Amal arrive at?

This entertaining play with song and dance sequences is a social commentary of today’s urban reality where we raise our children and then they move far away from us, and we are left to pine for them in our lonely old age.

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