Bimal is a taxi-driver in a small town. His taxi is his only companion and, although very battered, it is the apple of Bimal's eye. The film shows the love of taxi driver Bimal and his pathetic vehicle Jagaddal.



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Credited cast:
Kali Bannerjee ...
Gangapada Basu ...
Satindra Bhattacharya
Tulsi Chakraborty
Anil Chatterjee ...
Shriman Deepak ...
Kajal Gupta ...
Young woman
Gyanesh Mukherjee ...
Sita Mukherjee


Bimal is a taxi-driver in a small town. His taxi is his only companion and, although very battered, it is the apple of Bimal's eye. The film shows the love of taxi driver Bimal and his pathetic vehicle Jagaddal.

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Release Date:

22 October 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme-auto  »

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A man and his car.
28 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Bimal becomes emotionally attached to his car, proving that you do not have to be alienated from inanimate fetishized objects. The car, 1920 Chevy jalopy, sputters and winks, communicating in a science fictional language with his increasingly obsessive master/ brother/ doppelganger. The sound in the film is remarkable and could easily work as an audio play. Makes the sound in films today look backward and archaic. Ghattak uses many different angles: part social realism, part Laurel and Hardy slapstick, part ethnographic documentary (scenes of a religious night ritual which Bimal wanders into are especially striking). In this way, the picture resembles 'Brick and Mirror' by Golestan or Merjui's 'The Cow' and works in a far more cohesive manner than an art school pastiche like 'Taxi Driver', which was probably influenced by it. Not far from the dusty roads and lakes is Samuel Beckett and his large human- headed flowerpots. Ghattak is a modernist of the old school. It is not all humiliation for Bimal and the car, although Ghattak has said the idea is absurdist and one shouldn't fall for the image without the irony. Sending up the sentimental, the car is finally junked as Bimal oozes tears. A child honks the remaining horn and giggles in the outback dust. Despite his loopy friendship with the clunker, there's a lot of heart in the way he is depicted (Kali Bannerjee deserves a lot of praise for playing Bimal straight, without a smirk). After all, you can't make something just to despise it, unless you are Dr. Frankenstein or you design public housing. That is a dishonest laughter. Problem: prints tend to be bad and the English summation probably butchers the more subtle Bengali dialogue. Criterion should do this one, but they tend to ignore non- Ray Indo- Asia. 'Ajantrik' (Pathetic Fallacy, or The Unmechanical) is vigorous as hell. At times, it slips into a sleepwalking lyricism, as the camera is hypnotized by a beautiful runaway girl or Bimal sitting exhausted by the water with his mechanical friend. They race trains, carry impossible numbers of people to weddings, and endure the laughter of impudent, mud- slinging brats. A buddy road movie for anthropomorphic sensualists, the film constantly threatens to go off in a million directions. That's part of the ruse: Ghattak really runs a tight ship, edited like a piece of music, with an utterly original way of gluing together his parodic elements. He even jibes his Parallel Cinema comrades, while using some of their more striking innovations in photography to project the truth of his unreality. Black comedy in our sadly post- Ritwik Ghattak world is just suburban cruelty. Film students today should watch this so they can get some idea of what an avant garde used to be.

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