[box_light]”The director is the only person who knows what the film is about” – Satyajit Ray[/box_light]

Charulata

Charulata

Charulata is a 1964 film by Bengali director Satyajit Ray, based upon the novel Nastanirh  (“The Broken Nest”) by Rabindranath Tagore and set in Calcutta in the late nineteenth century. Bengal Renaissance is at its peak and India is under the British rule.

The film portrays a housewife, known as Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee), the childless and intelligent women but she lives a lonely and idle life in 1870s India. Although her husband, Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee) who edits and publishes a political newspaper, devotes more time to his newspaper than to their marriage, he sees her loneliness and asks his brother-in-law and his wife to live with them and to keep her company. At the same time Bhupati’s younger cousin, Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), a would-be writer comes on a visit. Bhupati asks him to encourage Charu’s cultural interests. Amal is young, handsome and is of the same age group as Charu. He provides her with much needed intellectual companionship and attention. An intimate relationship develops between Charulata and Amal. However, after several months, Amal realizes that Charulata is in love with him but is unwilling to betray his cousin’s trust that has already suffered at the hands of Charu’s swindling brother. He abruptly leaves, and after Charu hysterically submits to her disappointment in the presence of Bhupati, there is nothing left but for the forsaken woman and her humiliated husband to forge a contrived reconciliation

Charulata marks a significant point in Ray’s career, as it bears the influence of Western film on his directorial style. The film has an understated background score by Satyajit Ray. Among all his films, Charulata was Ray’s personal favourite. Ray described the film as the one which has the least defects and considered it as his most consummate work.

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