Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Charulata:The Lonely Wife

The closing scene of the movie shows Charulata and the trust-lost Bhupati, hesitantly reaching out to each other, just when the camera freezes, showing us the uncertainty.That's how uncertain I feel, writing about this beautiful film,which has put me in a complete loss of words.

After madly having hunted for a Satyajit Ray film for quite a long time, I finally managed to get my hand over this classic.Based on Rabindranath Tagore's short novel "Nastanirh"(The Broken Nest), this 1964 Bengali film is a masterstroke by one of India's most celebrated directors.

The story is set in late 19th century Calcutta. Charulata/Charu(Madhabi Mukherjee) is an intelligent bored lonely upperclass housewife.Bhupati(played very well by Sailen Mukherjee), loves his wife, but is engrossed in political work and his own printing press.To give her company, he invites her brother Umapada(Shyamal Ghoshal) and sister-in-law Manda(Gitali Roy).In the meanwhile,a happy-go-lucky Amal(Soumitra Chatterjee), Bhupathi's cousin also arrives.Charu and Amal share similar interests in literature and poetry, and on Bhupati's request Amal starts mentoring her, so that her talent in writing wouldn't go wasted.But Charu soon starts harbouring other feelings for Amal.

It is so difficult to write about a film like this, which is so simple yet so complex. Satyajit Ray brilliantly plays with just the basic human emotions so well, nothing overly dramatic. Its the silences that speak more in this movie. The first few minutes of the film, of how Charu observes the outside world through the window using her opera glasses,barely has any dialogues in it.It's just beyond words.It leaves you dumbstruck.

The kind of contrasts he creates within the film and between the characters, are so obvious, yet shown with subtility.The film is so modern in its outlook,making it relevant even in such times.Even the references he makes to Bankim Chandra, show his eye for details.The camera work (Subrata Mitra) throught the movie is exemplary.Satyajit Ray also gives music for the film, which is another highlight.

The beautiful Madhabi Mukherjee as the intelligent, lonely, childless wife,Charulata, plays her part so well, that you believe she is actually Charulata.The kind of chemistry Soumitra Chatterjee and she share is brilliant.

Satyajit Ray considered this film as one of his best and the one with least defects.This classic of a movie should not be missed.


Inderjit V M said...

Very interesting blog...The alignment of text and pictures are perfect. great

Shutter Bug said...

hey..thanks a lot man...