The Music Room (1958)
"Jalsaghar" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Music  |  1958 (India)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 3,163 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 62 critic

Depicts the end days of a decadent zamindar (landlord) in Bengal, and his efforts to uphold his family prestige even when faced with economic adversity.



(based on the story by) (as Tarashankar Bandhopadhaya) , (script), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Chhabi Biswas ...
Huzur Biswambhar Roy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sardar Akhtar ...
Singer (as Begum Akhtar)
Gangapada Basu ...
Mahim Ganguly
Bismillah Khan ...
Salamat Ali Khan ...
Khyal singer
Waheed Khan ...
Ustad Ujir Khan (as Ostad Wahed Khan)
Roshan Kumari ...
Krishna Bai, dancer
Tulsi Lahiri ...
Manager of Roy's Estate
Tarapada Nandy
Padmadevi ...
Mahamaya, Roy's wife (as Padma Devi)
Kali Sarkar ...
Roy's Servant
Pinaki Sengupta ...
Khoka, Roy's Son


Huzur Biswamghar Roy is a rich landowner who lives in a palace with his wife and son and his many servants. His passion - his wife would call it his addiction - is music and he spends a great deal of his fortune on concerts held for the locals in his magnificent music room. His wealth is in decline however. His lands are being eroded by the local river and he pays for the concert he arranges for his son's coming of age party by selling some of the family jewels. When his neighbor Ganguli invites him to a party at his house, Roy decides to one up him and organizes a lavish party for the same day - costing him the last of the jewels. After his wife and son are killed in a storm, Roy becomes something of a recluse, closing up the music room. Now, many years later he decides to have one final concert, spending the last of his money to again outdo - and spite - Ganguli. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1958 (India)  »

Also Known As:

The Music Room  »

Box Office


$94,886 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Voted #20 on the list of "100 Best Films" by the prominent French magazine 'Cahiers du Cinema' in 2008. See more »


Referenced in The Darjeeling Limited (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Indian master filmmaker Satyajit Ray's profoundly evocative film that pays homage to classical Indian art forms
20 April 2014 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Jalsaghar (aka "The Music Room") is a 1958 drama film directed by master Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Based on a short story of the same name by Bangla writer Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Jalsaghar presents the tale of decline of a feudal lord in the pre-independence India. Jalsaghar stars veteran Bangla actor Chhabi Biswas in the lead role of Huzur Biswambhar Roy. Huzur is the last of Zamindars—a dying breed of landlords who once formed the very basis of the Indian Feudal System. Huzur's glory days are over but his sense of superiority remains intact. He lives in the past neither acknowledging the present nor anticipating the future. He continues to be a servant of his refined tastes even as his coffers are getting empty.

Jalsaghar was Ray's fourth film which he made after the commercial failure of Aparijito—the finally film in Ray's much acclaimed "The Apu Trilogy". Ray had initially thought of making a commercial film, based on some popular work of literature, which would incorporate popular Indian music. But, what eventually transpired was something that was totally different. It was more of an art-house work than a commercial movie that Ray had initially intended to make. The movie failed to do well at the Indian box-office. But, it received both critical and financial success in Europe and the US and helped Ray earn international reputation. The music of Jalsaghar was written by the Indian composer and sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan who was encouraged by Ray to compose musical pieces that would gel well with the movie's dark and gloomy tone. The movie's melancholic musical composition and sombre art direction—the sublime use of mirrors, chandeliers, etc.—gives it a Gothic feel in the vein of American Film-Noir films of the '40s and '50s.

In Jalsaghar, Ray highlights the perpetual conflict of tradition versus modernity while simultaneously examining the Indian caste system. Jalsaghar is a sublime work of cinema that, having stood the test of time for over five decades, continues to inspire the budding filmmakers as well as enthrall the audiences worldwide. Jalsaghar is widely regarded as Satyajit Ray's most evocative film. It serves to be a great means of getting acquainted with Ray's oeuvre. Jalsaghar with its universal motifs is also the most accessible of Ray's films, especially for foreign viewers. Jalsaghar is not a movie that would woo a casual viewer. Restless viewers should best stay away from it. But, a patient viewer would be thoroughly rewarded. The movie owing to its slow pace may pose impediments to the uninitiated viewer. Jalsaghar is a deeply thought-provoking work of cinema that demands multiple viewings. The movie is a must watch for every student of cinema. an essential watch for all Satyajit Ray fans as well as those who understand and appreciate intelligent cinema. 10/10

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