Sadia Afrin Arin
“The Japanese Wife”, directed by Aparna Sen, is an Indian Bengali movie, based on Kunal Basu's book. The story is about a long-distance marriage between a Bangali gentleman Snehomoy (Rahul Bose) and a Japanese girl Miyage (Chigusa Takaku). Their relationship starts with letters, as they are pen pals. Well in today's world this pen friendship is almost lost as it is a modern world where people are more familiar with Facebook, Twitter and so on.
When they get married Miyage sends a silver ring to Snehomoy and Snehomoy sends a box of vermilion and a pair of Shakha (symbol of Hindu wives) to her. 15 years of their marriage pass by and in this long time they talk on phone for two or three times only but their bond becomes stronger. Both of them have a poor economic condition for which neither Snehomoy can go to Japan nor can Miyage come to India. They just have one way to contact, letter. Though they are far away from each other they do not betray each other. Isn't it strange? Their devotion for each other even in this long distance, amazed me as 'loyalty in love' is very rare these days. Well it is in my view. Forget about long-distance relationships, betrayal can even be seen between two people who even live under the same roof. But the strong bond between Snehomoy and Miyage in this movie, gave me a positive view.
On their fifteenth wedding anniversary Miyage sends Snehomoy a box of beautiful kites and Snehomoy send her a sari and some flowers in a basket. Miyage sends flowers with every letter to him. One day Shondhya (Raima Sen), who is a young widow comes to Snehomoy's house with her eight-year old son Poltu. Snehomoy's Mashi (Moushumi Chatterjee) gives her shelter, as Shondhya is her friend's daughter, with whom Mashi wanted Snehomoy to get married in the beginning of the movie. Snehomoy in his letter informs Miyage about Shondhya and her son. He describes about the get-up of a widow while describing about Shondhya. He says widows wear white saree and some even cut off all their hair "depending on how much they are devoted to their husbands".
All of a sudden Snehomoy comes to know Miyage is very sick and he takes leave from his school for six months as he plans to go to different doctors for consulting about her health. After knowing Miyage has cancer, he goes to Kolkata to an Oncologist and shows Miyage's reports to the doctor. When the doctor says to bring her to the hospital, Snehomoy at first remains silent and then he just leaves the room saying she is in Japan. That night he talks with Miyage on phone for the last time as on the way home, Snehomoy drenches in the heavy rain in a night of flood and he catches pneumonia and after a few days he dies.
A lady comes on a boat, wearing white saree and she is bald. Its Miyage, comes to the village as Snehomoy's widow. When she reaches his home, Shondhya takes her to Snehomoy's room, where she finds everything, even the dry-flowers she used to send with the letters. But only one thing is missing, his beloved husband, Snehomoy. Her baldness represents her devotion for Snehomoy. Well in reality this long-distance marriage seems like a fairytale maybe. But we can have this amazing devotion to each other in our real life, can't we?