Season’s Greetings review: Lillette Dubey shines in this poetic film that marks Celina Jaitly’s comeback

Actor Celina Jaitly has returned to the screen in Season’s Greetings, a film that she shot during trying circumstances — the actor has said that she lost a child and her mother while she did the project. However, it can be safely said that she has worked through that immense pain to deliver one of her finest performances.

Season’s Greetings opens with a touching, heartbreaking description of a woman and her feelings. Lillette is reading the poem written in a letter addressed to her as she prepares her lavish house for a guest’s visit. Soon, we are taken through the relationship Romita (Celina Jaitly) and her live-in boyfriend Usmaan (debutant actor Azhar Khan) share. It begins with the couple making love, and soon, we get to know it is an inter-religion relationship.

Lillette and Celina in a still from Season’s Greetings.

While the discussion is rather cold, the occasional poetry and shayari the two use and the background score complete the picture of emotions involved in such a relationship – especially when the couple is equally attached to their respective families. Celina, Lillette’s daughter in the film, is set to bring her boyfriend home to meet her mom.

While Celina continues to describe her parents fondly,and mentions how her mother must be lonely, Lillette is shown happy in her space. She is happy with her dance and music and has a special relationship with Chapala (Shree Ghatak). The disconnect between how she is and how her daughter perceives her is already established, even before we see Lillette open her mouth to deliver a dialogue.

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Directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee, the film explores the fragile nature of human relationships – be it between lovers or between a mother and daughter or a daughter and her father. It also focusses on how love can be both beautiful and cruel.

The subtle yet strong and rather deep emotions portrayed in the film – from those of a grown up, independent woman in love, to those of a person conflicted between love and responsibilities to the mixed feelings of joy, excitement and fear as one prepares to confront one’s own child over a relationship.

The dialogues offer perfect perspective into the double-edged sword that the filmmaker is trying to use with his films – he targets emotions as well social consciousness with Season’s Greetings. Sample some of the lines:

 “Allahabad  ko Prayagraj bante dekh, kuch nahi bole. Thoda waqt do. (They silently watched as Allahabad was changed to Prayagraj, give them some time).”

“Aag me chalna padta hai Sita ko aur Purushottam kaun banta hai?” (In the Hindu mythological epic Ramayan, Sita walks on fire but who is declared the best among men? The answer is Lord Ram, Sita’s husband)”

Much as expected, Lillette is the winner when it comes to performance – she does not say a single line through half of the film but conveys a lot through her majestic body language, perfect facial expressions and her eyes.

Celina, too, does quite an impressive job. It is wonderful to watch her in the scenes where she doesn’t have any dialogues. Season’s Greetings, can be easily considered one of Celina’s best works.

The short film stretches – at one hour, it is unlikely to keep you hooked till the end. While the poetic portions are well done, the part supposed to take the narrative forward and establish a modern way of life appear superficial. But if you do stay with the film, the climax sequence has some beautiful rewards – not only does the narrative take a surprisingly different turn, the brilliance of Lillette’s performance is at its epitome in the last shot.

Author tweets @swetakaushal

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