Aniruddha Chatterjee And Daniel Cupik In ‘Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway,’ Explained

An interesting comparison can be drawn between two important male characters in the film Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway. It is their principles that separate them at the end of the film, making Aniruddha an antagonist and Daniel Cupik an empath. Let’s try to understand these two characters individually first before comparing them to each other. The film follows an Indian Bengali family that loses their kids to the child services system in Norway and the mother’s sole fight to win them back. Of course, Rani Mukherjee is the highlight of the film, followed by her last advocate, who eventually helps her get custody of her kids in India. There is a special place for the male lead of the film, Mr. Aniruddha Chatterjee. Played by Anirban Bhattacharya, he has this special place because every time he speaks, you feel an ick and want to smack a punching bag. Aniruddha is hungry to be an NRI who lives in the beautiful country of Norway, away from the noise and bustle of his homeland in West Bengal. His sole purpose in the film is to pose a threat to his wife, insult her, and infuriate us as an audience. Aniruddha was once a perfect man who wanted everything to be rosy for him and his wife. He took her abroad so they could live an excellent life. Then they had two children, and he grew busier by the day, not being able to do a single house chore while she cleaned, cooked, and took care of her two infant children. While all this is not exceptionally unusual, Aniruddha has the nasty habit of blaming the whole world for his problems and never admitting his own fault. The kids are taken away; it is Debika’s fault. The child services team arrived because Debika’s friend complained about domestic violence. He’s a misogynist who believes women belong at home while men deserve to lead comfortable lives working outside and relaxing at home. Their only job in their kids’ lives is to bring them to life and then leave them in the hands of their trusty wives.

Aniruddha hits his wife, but he also mentally abuses her. He tells her she deserves to be locked inside a room in front of her parents with no respect or shame. Every time she opens her mouth to say two words about wanting her children back, he shuts her up because she’s an “embarrassment,” not because he has anything better to say. In two hours and whatever minutes of the film, we don’t see Aniruddha fight for the kids for even five minutes. A useless father who easily gives up on his children because he has his citizenship and freedom at the end of the film, Aniruddha’s family and upbringing are not any better, as we see later on. His parents and brother take custody of the kids so they can exploit all the money they receive from the Norwegian government. Never mind that the children are their own grandchildren. A simple case of nurture gone wrong. Is Anirddha inherently a bad person? As much as the movie tries to make him out to be, it is a gray area, and there may have been some good qualities in the man for Debika to have chosen to marry him, but with time, it all faded.

On the other hand, Daniel Singh Ciupek, played by Jim Sarbh, is a stuck-up lawyer who is arranged for the Chatterjees by the government of Norway. To begin with, Ciupek comes across as cold and indifferent to Debika’s problems. He’s here just to do a job. It is made especially clear when Debika suggests he gets a cut from the child services company for doing his job wrong. Daniel doesn’t take the insult lying down and tells Debika to watch what she’s saying. Although he cares about winning, he is exasperated by Debika’s behavior and doesn’t know how to make her understand how that affects their case. Daniel makes good arguments on behalf of Debika, but they’re not enough, and finally, they lose the case. Many months later, Daniel goes to India as a representative of the government of Norway to take the kids back to a better place than where they are at that moment. It is certain at that point that Daniel’s only mission is to do what’s best for the kids. Fight for the mother or fight for the country; the kids should find their happiness. We see Daniel most vulnerable when he’s brought to the stand for questioning. Bemused, he goes ahead and speaks his whole truth. That’s when we find out that Daniel himself is an adopted child and has been brought up with everything he could ask for, or at least that’s what he makes it look like. When he’s asked if Debika’s kids would get more love in foster care, he replies yes without hesitation. In fact, he does so with so much fervor that it looks like he favors that for all kids. But, in truth, Daniel has seen how much work Debika has put in to get her children back and how long she has fought to do so. He’s not against her; he just wants to do what’s right for the kids, and so finally, he folds and agrees that the kids will be the happiest with their mother. Not because she’s their biological mother but because she fought for them hard.

Between Aniruddha and Daniel, the big difference is that the latter knows how to accept what’s right, and that makes him the better man in the film. Daniel is quick to congratulate Debika when she gets custody of her kids, whereas Aniruddha shuts his call off when he knows he’s losing the battle. Aniruddha never once apologizes to Debika for all the hardship he has put her through; instead, when the time comes tos sign off the kids to his brother he reminds her that she has forgiven him many times, expecting her to do it yet again. This is not to say that Daniel is the perfect man, but it is just an observation of the two opposing leading men of the film, because even if their roles are small, their roles are important, especially in the final act of Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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