Parash Pathar was Satyajit Ray’s immediate follow-up to his celebrated Aparajito. The film bears the heavy (but never oppressive) influence of Ray’s idol, French filmmaker Jean Renoir. Tulsi Chakravetry plays Parresh Dutt, an elderly clerk who comes into possession of a stone that can turn the humblest mineral into gold. Attaining vast wealth overnight, Dutt finds that he is still persona non grata in High Society. Taking revenge on his “betters,” he uses his wonderful stone to destroy the economy. Realizing the damage that he’s done, the clerk sacrifices himself to set things right again. When first shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958, Parash Pathar was greeted with amused indifference; critics and viewers alike preferred the profundity of Ray’s “Apu” trilogy to this modest little fable. Music by Ravi Shankar.
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