To be honest, I’m not sure I really got this movie. I could see what it was getting at, but I never really found myself caring about Gogol’s journey. The stops along the way seemed familiar (insofar as something I haven’t experienced personally could feel familiar), but I couldn’t feel the wind in my face.
However, the movie did contain a lovely romance between Asoke and Ashima, Gogol’s parents. Irrfan and Tabu are so wonderful in their roles that I found myself wanting to skip over the other scenes to get to the ones involving them. People talk about movies like HAHK as feel-good. For me, feel-good cinema is watching these two in this movie.
My favourite scene is actually a little moment that occurs towards the end of the second act. Asoke is about to leave town to take up a teaching position elsewhere, and Ashima comes to see him off at the airport. He looks at her, smiles, nods slightly as if to say “Aascchi” (meaning “Am off, then”) and moves forward in the queue.
What does that moment accomplish, really? One could argue that it’s in there because it is the last time they see each other (Ashoke dies shortly thereafter). But it’s more than that, I think. This is a movie that has spent enough time painting a picture of a wonderful couple and a loving marriage. It has had the patience to develop it through dialogue, through scenes of quietly shared domesticity, not just montages of two people walking and laughing while “romantic” music plays in the background.
That little smile and nod feels like a goodbye in retrospect. But it also stands on its own as a moment that encapsulates the unspoken language that develops over the course of an enduring relationship. It is one of the most romantic things I have seen on screen.