The summer of 2024. Sixty-four-year-old Mrs G starts to reminisce about her love affair with a man she calls ‘A’. To Aisha, her daughter, ‘A’ appears to be a figment of her mother’s dementia-afflicted mind. ‘Miu, there was no A. You were happily married to Boy,’ an exasperated Aisha tells her mother. Even as it starts to seem that her mother had, for years, lived a whole other life. A life peopled by those who had together played out the obsession of love, morbid jealousy, hurt, harm and finally death. ‘Shree’s death,’ her mother whispers to Aisha. But how could it be? Her father had been so deeply in love with her mother and theirs was almost the perfect marriage. Who were these people that her mother now spoke about at odd hours? And the death that seemed to weigh so deeply on her mind… a death that leads Aisha to the holy city of Varanasi where people go to die.
Sharmistha Gooptu is a film historian, and author of Bengali Cinema, An Other Nation (Routledge, 2010). She is Editor of the journal South Asian History and Culture and the South Asian History and Culture Books Series.