Exclusive! Sagarika Chakraborty: Real mother in Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway opens up on her abusive marriage

Exclusive! Sagarika Chakraborty: Real mother in Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway opens up on her abusive marriage

Mar 19, 2023 - 18:30
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Exclusive! Sagarika Chakraborty: Real mother in Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway opens up on her abusive marriage

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway has been called Rani Mukherjee’s best performance ever and it is based on a dramatic real life story of a mother, Sagarika Chakraborty. A mother’s fight against another country for the custody of her children is bigger than any other fight. She risked her life to get back her children first from Norway and later from her abusive brother-in-law, Arunabhas Bhattacharya in Burdwan, West Bengal.

Talking about her abusive marriage Sagarika says, “I had an arranged marriage with Anurup Bhattacrya who is in Norway now. From the very beginning my in-laws and my husband treated me badly. They used to physically and mentally abuse me. I remember a few days before I was getting married, I was on the verge of breaking it because there was a dowry demand from their end.”

Sagarika married geophysicist Anurup Bhattacharya and the couple moved to Norway and gave birth to her first child who turned out to be autistic. Her son Abhigyaan was soon placed in a kindergarten. Sagarika gave birth to her second child Aishwarya in 2010.

The Birati girl had never ventured out of the country before her marriage to geophysicist Anurup Bhattacharya that took her to Norway. But when her children were taken away by the Child Welfare Services (CWS) in Stavanger – on ground of neglect and ’emotional disconnect’. Sagarika then was a very young mother who was struggling with two children in a foreign country. She took on the Norwegian government in a legal battle till she got her children back.

Initially Sagarika’s husband supported her when the Norwegian government took the kids away from them. Both came on national television pleading the Indian government for help.  But when the parents of the husband came to Norway with the husband’s brother, things changed. “They started blaming me. My in-laws, my husband and my brother-in-law used to beat me regularly. They used to pull my hair, beat me with a belt and lock me up in the bathroom. My brother-in- law once had beaten me up with a belt for hours and even grabbed me by my hair, tore my dress and tried to physically abuse me. It was my neighbors in Norway who came to my rescue.”

Later Sagarika realised that it was his brother-in-law who played a major role in this money game that was happening in Norway to not give back her children. Starting from the kindergarten to the Child Welfare Centre everybody was involved in it. They labeled her as mentally unfit and her husband was also party to it.

Sagarika Chakrabarty was a severe victim of domestic violence. The detail about domestic violence was not shown in the two-hour film, though we got glimpses of it. She narrates, “One night my husband, in-laws and my brother-in-law pushed me out of the house in the cold Norway weather when the temperature was minus 30 degrees. I was on the roads without food, water and shelter over my head. I had to go to my friend’s house and I lived there till the time I came back to India”

Even after so many years her husband never tried to get in touch with her or her children. Probably she is trying hard to forget her traumatic past. “It has been years that I am not in touch with my husband or his side of the family.”

Talking about the case in detail and her relationship with her husband, Anurup, she says that they are separated, but not divorced yet. But Anurup is in a live-in relationship with someone in Norway and continues to live there. He has got his citizenship and he chose citizenship over getting back his children. It is quite evident from his nature that he wanted his citizenship over getting back his children and as it is his wife was never an important part of his life. Hence, he always tortured her physically and mentally and threw her out of the house in the middle of the night in Norway. Coming back to India, her fight for custody of her children didn’t end.

Narrating his Norway incident, she says, “Initially when I had enrolled my children in a kindergarten school in Norway, I spoke to them about sending help at home. Instead they sent two women from the Child Welfare Centre of Norway whom I thought probably came to help me out. But that wasn’t their intention. They wanted to actually kidnap my children from me. I want to use the word ‘kidnap’ because that is what they have actually done.”

Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway is the story of a fearless mother from Birati who fought against Norway to get back her children.  Sagarika has also written a  book The Journey Of A Mother. Sagarika did further studies and has now got a Masters degree in information technology. She is working in an IT firm in Noida. Her children are with her parents in Kolkata.

Sagarika has transformed herself from the simple young girl who has always been overshadowed by others to a confident woman who is not scared of expressing her views.  She says, “My parents are my only support system. I don’t think I would have been able to fight this battle had they not been there by my side. I have to work because I am the sole bread-earner of my family.”

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