Soumitra Chatterjee

  • Satyajit Ray – Apur Sansar (1959)

    1951-1960ClassicsDramaIndiaSatyajit Ray

    “The World of Apu” is the third and final installment in the film trilogy of Satyajit Ray’s (Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar) Apu has grown to manhood and has been forced to give up his studies and find employment. Unable to find work, he is writing a novel based on his life. In a representation of an arranged marriage Apu nobly stands in for a distraught bridegroom. He had never seen his wife before the ceremony but together they find brief happiness. Tragedy again befalls Apu as his pregnant wife dies in childbirth. His son is brought into the world but blamed by his father for his mothers death. Apu matures, overcomes and sets forth with his boy, Kajal, to Calcutta to continue his adventure and start a new beginning.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Abhijaan AKA The Expedition (1962)

    Satyajit Ray1961-1970DramaIndia

    Abhijan was Satyajit Ray’s most popular film in Bengal: a “conscious” effort to communicate with a wider audience. The project was originally conceived by his friends and Ray stepped in when they panicked at the prospect of directing. Ray’s mastery turned a starkly conventional plot into a subtly nuanced story which topped the Bengali box office for months.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Kapurush AKA The Coward (1965)

    Drama1961-1970IndiaRomanceSatyajit Ray

    A relatively short film by Satyajit Ray standards, the director’s 1965 film Kapurush (The Coward) actually forms part of a double-bill with Mahapurush (The Holy Man), also included separately in this collection. The first part of the diptych is in some ways complementary to the films around it, moving on from the themes in the earlier Mahanagar and Charulata, where women are forced suppress their own individuality and desires in favour of the direction laid down by a male-dominated society, but it also anticipates Nayak’s look at the weaknesses in men (that one a “hero”, this one a “coward”), and is also similarly connected in this way with the workings of the movie industry. The combination of the strength of the female characters when confronted with weak male behaviour makes for a particularly interesting situation in Kapurush.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Sukumar Ray (1987)

    1981-1990AsianDocumentaryIndiaSatyajit Ray

    In 1987, Satyajit Ray made a documentary on a legend of Bengali Literature – Sukumar Ray – incidentally also the father of the filmmaker. Sukumar ray was an extraordinary individual. He was a gifted artist, photographer, activist and a person who gathered the cream of intellectuals in renaissance bengal around him. Yet he is remembered as the greatest humourist Bengal has ever produced, equalling great literateurs like Lewis Carrol and Edward Lear. The documentary tries to give us a glimpse into the mind of this genius and capture for its audience the wonderful poetry and compositions of Sukumar Ray.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Joi Baba Felunath AKA The Elephant God (1979)

    1971-1980AdventureCrimeIndiaSatyajit Ray

    This is the second film about the detective Feluda (Soumitra Chatterjee) set in the holy city of Benares, where he (along with his cousin, Topshe and friend, Lalmohan Ganguly) goes for a holiday. But the theft of a priceless deity of Lord Ganesh (the Elephant God) from a local household forces him to start investigation. Feluda comes in direct confrontation with Maganlal Meghraj (Utpal Dutt), a ruthless trader. Maganlal makes the mild-mannered Lalmohan a knife-thrower’s target and threatens Felu to stop investigation. But there are several other suspects as an innocent artisan is brutally murdered, a shady ‘holy man’ holds court on the banks of the Ganges and an adventure-loving little boy (and his grand-father), brought up on crime thrillers. The climax is a shoot-out on the Ganges, followed by the unraveling of the mystery.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Ganashatru AKA An Enemy of the People (1989)

    1981-1990DramaIndiaPoliticsSatyajit Ray

    In Satyajit Ray’s absorbing contemporary adaptation of a play by Henrik Ibsen, a good-hearted doctor discovers that the serious illness befalling the citizens of his small Bengali town may be due to a contamination of the holy water at the local temple. His findings are met not with public gratitude but with rancor, as well as opposition from local authorities, who are afraid the news will keep visitors away. Stately in style but with a fiery debate at its heart, An Enemy of the People gets at the tension between religion and science in everyday Indian life.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Ashani Sanket aka Distant Thunder (1973)

    Satyajit Ray1971-1980DramaIndia

    The film is set in a village in the Indian province of Bengal during World War II, and examines the effect of the Great Famine of 1943 on the villages of Bengal through the eyes of a young Brahmin doctor-teacher, Gangacharan, and his wife, Ananga.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Sonar Kella AKA The Golden Fortress (1974)

    1971-1980AsianClassicsIndiaSatyajit Ray

    A young boy becomes a target for crooks, after he claims to remember his past life and mentions precious jewels in a golden fortress.Read More »

  • Satyajit Ray – Devi AKA The Goddess (1960)

    1951-1960DramaIndiaSatyajit Ray

    One of Satyajit Ray’s greatest early films, full of sensuality and ironic undertones, Devi is sufficiently critical of Hindu superstition that it was banned from foreign distribution until Nehru interceded. The plot concerns a wealthy and devout landowner in the 19th century who believes his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is the reincarnation of the goddess Kali and convinces her that he’s right. With Soumitra Chatterji and Chhabi Biswas.
    Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago ReaderRead More »

Back to top button