Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Vikrant Massey, Konkona Sen Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Vinay Pathak, Supriya Pathak.
Director: Seema Pahwa
Every funeral home has different shades of people who gather to mourn the loss of their loved ones. Funerals are meant to cast a shadow of sombreness in a house, but if truth be said, it tends to become a joyous reunion for families who meet each other after a long period of staying busy in their fast-paced lives.
Released in 2019, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi has an anchor of Bollywood’s finest theatre actors and to top it all, Supriya Pathak and Naseeruddin Shah lead it. Though the latter appears in barely 3 scenes, his presence is somehow felt throughout the movie.
When Ramprasad dies of a heart attack one night, his home is packed the next day with his four mourning sons, two daughters and their respective families. In Hindu households, funeral rituals are extended for 13 days after the cremation- a duration that is a bit too long for city folks to commit to. His sons feel the agitation when they realize they can’t head back to their individual lives till the 13th-day ritual is completed.
The film then stirs towards the many issues each individual tries to finally sweep away from the rug, setting a tone of long buried regret and unhappiness towards their parents. While the daughter-in-laws bicker over the household work and the youngest daughter-in-law Seema’s absence, the grandchildren of the family engage in innocent playfulness. Ramprasad’s wife is not just shattered after her husband’s death but is equally appalled at the family’s unempathetic behaviour. She expresses this eventually as she speaks about parenthood. Part of it is reminiscent of the movie Baghban, as each child is caught up thinking about his own benefit.
In the opening minutes of the film, Ramprasad says that one must fix the faulty note of a musical instrument because it leads to a hurdle in real life as well. This scene is symbolic as it connects the many loose ends that the family has.
Seema Pahwa’s ability to give each actor their screen space is worth a mention and goes as far as saying that this attempt usually goes unnoticed and futile in another scenario. From underlining their characteristics, laying out their bitterness, and capturing a widow’s frailty, Seema brilliantly carves out nuances of a typical funeral house and the various emotions that come with it.
There were irrelevant situations that could be left out like Rahul’s (Vikrant Massey) deep hidden infatuation for his youngest aunt, Seema, and Seema’s puzzling feelings for her nephew.
The closing scene of the movie sums up the tehrvi and, in my opinion, makes a vital scene that touches you right in the heart. The movie has a lot of takeaways about thoughtful cinematography, sensible casting and a plot that is not too sloppy of a reminder of family bonds and forgiveness.