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The Cloud-Capped Star (1960)

Meghe Dhaka Tara (original title)
A selfless young woman (Supriya Choudhury) sacrifices her own happiness for her unappreciative family.


(as Shri Ritwik Kumar Ghatak)


(assistant scenario writer), (scenario) (as Shri Ritwik Kumar Ghatak) | 2 more credits »
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Credited cast:
Supriya Choudhury ...
Anil Chatterjee ...
Shankar (as Anil Chattopadhyay)
Gyanesh Mukherjee ...
Banshi Dutta (as Gyanesh Mukhopadhyay)
Bijon Bhattacharya ...
Taran Master
Gita Ghatak ...
Dwiju Bhawal ...
Niranjan Ray ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abhi Bhattacharya
Satindra Bhattacharya
Jamini Chakraborty
Suresh Chatterjee ...
(as Suresh Chattopadhyay)
Ranen Ray Choudhury ...
Baul singer (as Ranen Chowdhury)
Arati Das
Narayan Dhar


"Meghe Dhaka Tara" tells the tragic story of the beautiful daughter of a middle-class refugee family from East Pakistan, living in the outskirts of Calcutta under modest circumstances. Neeta sacrifices everything for her family, including her personal happiness, her money, and her health, while her achievements are hardly ever recognized by the people around her. Written by meitschi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical





Release Date:

1960 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Hidden Star  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


When Nita meets her former lover at the tree near the pond (after about 90 minutes), a microphone is visible in the top left corner. See more »

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User Reviews

A sprawling Bengali masterpiece
1 March 2005 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

The visionary Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak peers into the future, and sees nothing but disintegration - succeeding at multiple levels, CLOUD-CAPPED STAR humanizes this bleak vision, by locating the drama in a Bengali family, but everything occurring is something of a howl of outrage at what had become of his divided homeland.

The central figure in this sprawling melodrama (with some coincidental resemblances to European new wave and neo-realism) is Nita, the eldest daughter in a once-middle class, intellectual family, driven by partition into refugee status in the slums of Calcutta. Varied family members react in different opportunistic ways to their reduced status, and their need to survive, all of which takes an extreme toll on Nita, who ultimately becomes the family's sole breadwinner. The performances throughout are excellent - Supriya Choudhury as Nita is riveting, and Niranjan Roy is particularly strong as Sanat.

Throughout, Ghatak boils human nature and the survival instinct down to the most ruthless basics: this is a compelling and visionary film, but there is virtually no room for lofty ideals or sentimental altruism in the world created here - mourn what one must, and do what one must do to survive. Sentiment and ideals are - in this film - luxuries, and from the cruelty of such a truism, Ghatak has created one of cinema's great, vital tragedies.

Ghatak claimed few Western cinematic influences - like Jean-Luc Godard in France and Nagisa Oshima in Japan, his primary concerns were historical and political, and also technical - how to alter cinema to express those concerns in accessible language? For Ghatak the solution was found in using outdoor locations, natural sound, idiosyncratic editing, and a minimum of the flash seen in Bollywood or Hollywood - CLOUD-CAPPED STAR is bleak, absolutely gripping, tragic and infuriating. As drama, it would definitely rank as one of the more obscure global masterpieces out there (there has yet to be an official US release on VHS or DVD), rarely seen or commented upon. This is highly unfortunate - as a film of moral/social outrage, this rivals Bresson; its' overall feel for the everyday reminds one of Italian neo-realism; it's willingness to experiment boldly evokes Godard or Oshima; in it's concerns with the status of women (another of the many themes explored here), it evokes Naruse, Sirk or Mizoguchi.

Ghatak's own biography is one of great tragedy; one could possibly read the discretely enraged hopelessness of this film as an extension of his own, and see this as a drive that would have to produce at least one masterpiece (his later SUBARNA-REKHA is also very much worth a look), even as it brought him to a premature end. For all of its' bleakness, CLOUD-CAPPED STAR is absolutely compelling - any cinephile (or student of history) would do well to see it.

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