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Charulata AKA The Lonely Wife

Screening on Film
Directed by Satyajit Ray.
With Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Shaileen Mukherjee.
India, 1964, 35mm, black & white, 117 min.
Bengali with English subtitles.

In one of his most enduring masterpieces, Satyajit Ray paired two of his favorite actors. Madhabi Mukherjee plays the childless Calcutta housewife Charulata, who feels neglected by her career-oriented husband. Soumitra Chatterjee (who appeared in fifteen of Ray’s films) is the husband’s dynamic cousin Amal, to whom Charulata develops a deep attachment. Encouraged by Amal to pursue her writing, Charulata undergoes an intellectual and sexual awakening that neither her husband nor late nineteenth-century Bengali society is quite ready for. Ray depicts his heroine’s growing self-awareness through subtle poetic shifts in visual composition and an uncharacteristically Bollywoodesque musical performance.

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Humanist Masterworks:
The Films of Satyajit Ray

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.