Shunyo E Buke (Empty Canvas) - Exposes the hypocrisies of men in the name of love

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

Rimli Bhattacharya

Shunyo E Buke (Empty canvas) was a Bengali film released in year 2005. It was directed by Kaushik Ganguly. The concept of the film as the name suggests is none other than a man’s fantasy – Women breasts. The story revolves around the soft spoken Tista played by   who during her visit to Khajuraho meets Saumitra played by Kaushik Sen. Apparently Saumitra himself was visiting Khajuraho to gather inspiration for his profession as a brilliant painter and sculptor. In his eyes Tista is a queen of erotica just like the effigies at Khajuraho and both fall in love with each other. The culture of both Tista and Saumitra are poles apart. Tista hails from an affluent family and Saumitra belongs to the middle class sector. Very much against the wishes of her family Tista goes ahead and marries Saumitra. On the first wedding night of consummation Saumitra who professes Tista that he will embrace all her drawbacks recoils in horror when he finds her flat – chested. He rebukes Tista and claims she has cheated him and also regrets the fact that he did not have a pre marital sex with her. He insults her and leaves the home next morning when a distraught Tista reaches out to her boss and friend a single woman Sarmistha di played by Rupa Ganguly. 

Tista breaks down to her when Sarmistha gives her words of wisdom and also says if in that case shall a man show his penis to his girl friend before marriage and confirm if all is well with his shortcomings. The next day Saumitra turns up at Sarmistha’s place but Sarmistha shows him the door. Unable to bear the fact that his wife is flat chested Saumitra draws diagram of Tista’s breast and shows it to his friends. The story of her drawing reaches Tista through Anjit played by Tota Roy Chowdhury. Tista rushes back to Saumitra and asks for a divorce and also says him not to mock her any further. Several years later Saumitra again meets Tista when she is happily married to Anjit and also has a daughter. Tista tells him that the baby has grown up sucking her milk from her tiny breasts and also Anjit loves her as a woman and not for her breasts. The movie ends with a poignant note where Saumitra regrets his offense caused to Tista where he has shamed her body parts and apologizes to Tista but Tista is no more interested in his apologies and continues playing with her husband and little daughter. 

Dola Mitra writes in The Telegraph, “Briefly, the story is about a bride rejected on her wedding night by a husband who is repulsed by the smallness of her breasts. The film purports to say how wrong he was. Do men lust after chest size? Of course they do, always have. But not all men, or women, have allowed their lives to be defined by that. Making light of it, Anjali Sengupta, (a 37-year-old communications professional), says 'I am pretty underdeveloped, and have never roused any fascination in men other than to dazzle them with my sparkling mind!' Her husband, 40-year-old Aniruddha, (also a communications professional described by a relative as 'besotted by his wife,') says jokingly, 'you can interview me; I have more boob than she does.' 'Regarding boob size,' he adds, 'for some, they might be the alpha and omega of attraction, but for others, 'sparkling minds' do tend to shine through. And I do think (or at least hope) that there are enough men for whom this is true.”

It is fact men are obsessed with women’s breasts and women do fall prey to the fact that if she doesn’t have the number between 32 to 38 she feels incomplete. It has also been observed there are cases where a man stares at a woman’s breasts and speaks instead of looking at her face. We have even heard gossips about women being hired in jobs according to the size of breast. Michael Castleman in Psychology today says, “Men's breast obsession is clearly sexual. Women's breasts are among men's favorite sex toys. But it's hard to know exactly where women's breast obsession comes from. Men certainly play a role. According to the study, if 56 percent of men feel satisfied with their partners' breasts, then 44 per cent of men--a large proportion--feel unsatisfied. Many women who get augmented say their husbands or boyfriends encouraged or pressured them into it.”

My question is why can’t a woman be loved as a whole and not just for the sake of breasts? A woman can play the role of a daughter, mother, lover, wife and a lot of multitasking roles but that does not mean that a woman should be measured in terms of breasts. I am a single woman with a breast size of 42 but I am definitely not going to settle with a man who is only obsessed with my breasts.  Yes, breast do turn a man on and is also a subject of sexual fantasy but please stay away from that man who only appreciates your breast and not you as a woman.

Further states Michael Castleman in Psychology today, “Fashion also plays a role in women's breast obsession. From Jane Mansfield's torpedoes in the 1950s to the small, adolescent chests of today's top models, breast fashions evolve. But fashion is not destiny.” It is very true we are not destined for fashion sake or for the sake of a lecher who sees woman as an object of his pervert lust.

In the movie 'The Empty Canvas' the director has exposed the hypocrisies of men in the name of love. Saumitra went to Khajuraho met Tista and compared his fantasy of the woman he loved with the erotica of the effigies. So women be careful in falling in love with such malicious species. The idée fixe of men on women breast is also a sign of sexual attraction and you should never give in to such like demands. You are a complete woman yourself irrespective of the fact you have size 38 or are flat chested. Let a man love you as Anjit loved Tista and men like Saumitra need to be discarded as dirty laundry. 

A different version of this review was earlier published in Youth Ki Awaaz.

About Author 

Rimli Bhattacharya is a first class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering with a MBA in supply chain management. She has contributed to two anthologies, A Book of light and Muffled Moans and has written two solo books, The crosshairs of life and That day it rained and other stories. Her other works have appeared in twenty nine literary magazines & E – Zines. She is also an Indian Classical dancer. Views expressed are personal.

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