I've seen this film recently at the Ritwik Ghatak retrospective in the Vienna Filmmuseum in February 2002. I only can say: a masterpiece. A real discovery.
After having seen this extraordinary film, I can't understand why Ghatak's genius was hardly appreciated in his lifetime, why it had to take so long to rediscover him as one of the most amazing film directors of the 20th century.
The beautiful and heart-wrenching story tells about a family of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who struggle to find a new home in West Bengal. Ishwar Chakravorty gets a job near the river Subarnarekha and goes there with his little sister Shita and Abhiram, a low-caste young boy from the refugee camp he has adopted after the boy's mother had been abducted. They hope to find happiness in this new environment, but when Abhiram comes home after his school years and wants to marry Shita (who is also in love with him), tragic conflicts emerge that shatter the lives of all main characters.
The impressive direction with unorthodox usage of sound and music and expressionistic camera angles, the beautiful photography (notably in Ishwar's "breakdown scene"), and the great performances especially by the amazing Abhi Bhattacharya and Madhabi Mukherjee (though there is also some rather bad acting by some supporting actors, but this is only a minor drawback to the film) all add to the great impression of this wonderful picture. An absolute must-see!
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