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

 -  Drama | Music  -  1958 (India)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,504 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 59 critic

Biswambhar Roy is a zamindar (landlord) and the last of his kind. With the title, he has none of the perquisites, inheriting diminishing lands that are being eroded by the neighbouring ... See full summary »

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Cast

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 ...
Musician
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
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Storyline

Biswambhar Roy is a zamindar (landlord) and the last of his kind. With the title, he has none of the perquisites, inheriting diminishing lands that are being eroded by the neighbouring river. But he must maintain the lifestyle of his heritage. This ostentation is most apparent in the grandest room of his mansion, the music room. Here he inports the finest musicians and dancers to perform, and invites the area's most important commoners. His wife's entreaties to control spending are ignored, and the puberty party he throws for his son bring him down to the last few sacks of family jewels. Then, struck by tragedy, he locks the music room and slips into lethargy - until a final grand soiree consumes the last of his funds. Written by Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

1958 (India)  »

Also Known As:

The Music Room  »

Box Office

Gross:

$94,886 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Connections

Featured in Celluloid Man (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A study of the nature of privilege in society -- PLOT DISCUSSED
27 August 1999 | by (Arlington County, Virginia) – See all my reviews

WARNING -- PLOT DISCUSSED -- The jalsaghar is a great music hall in the mansion of the main character, a scion of a great landowning family. It's almost all he has left of the Ray family's legacy. Over the years his land has been slowly eaten away by one of the great rivers of Bengal. But he still has the trappings of aristocracy -- his retainers address him as "Hujur" ("my lord"); even his wealthy neighbour, Ganguli, addresses him as "Thakurda" ("(paternal) grandfather"). He lives only for his jalsaghar, where he can recreate his family's past glory and where he can still win a game of one-upmanship against Ganguli. Meanwhile, Ganguli is up-and-coming. He's a businessman, the new aristocrat, land-poor but cash-rich. He gets electric lights for his house; he gets a motor car, the first in the region. Satyajit Ray, the legendary director, masterfully contrasts the hollowness of the old aristocrat with the shallowness of the new aristocrat. How is privilege earned? Who is due respect? What is worthy of pride? What will pride get you? These are the questions that are explored with subtlety. The focus of the film is the performance of Chhabi Biswas, a legend of the Calcutta stage. (An interesting aside -- "chhabi" is Bengali for "picture" and "biswas" means "belief.") He fit the mold of a classic actor -- temperamental, undependable, a raging alcoholic, a master. Almost every scene is wholly dependent on him, as he preens and boasts and rages and pines away for lost glory. When you read that Biswas was in real life completely tone-deaf, his creation of a music-lover is an astonishing accomplishment, both by him and by Satyajit Ray.


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