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Calcutta in the early 1960's. Bhambal supports his wife Arati, his parents, and two children. Money is tight, so Arati goes to work. She's successful and enjoys it, but this untraditional step throws the household into chaos: her in-laws initiate a "cold war" of silence and disapproval. When Bhambal loses his job, her working is essential; he loses self respect, and the gulf between them widens. Arati questions whether to keep her daughter in school. At work, her friendship with Edith, a Euro-Indian who smokes, swears, and uses lipstick, brings Arati close to impertinence with her genial boss. Her job is imperiled, she acts impulsively, and who will understand her actions? Written by
Mahangar captures the middle class culture of post-independence Calcutta effectively. The movie shows the emotional crisis of a family caught between family tradition and increasing expenses. The husband-wife relationship starts unraveling under the stress of brand new corporate identity and financial comfort the wife discovers. Its interesting how the other family members come to terms and make peace with the changed dynamics when they see their own gratification with the higher salary. Ray has done an exceptional job in uplifting the role of the Indian wife and depicting an almost perfect superwoman character rising to the occasion and being the pillar of support at home and at work. Throughout these changes in lifestyle, she continues to rely upon her husband for moral support. The ending is well scripted in their current dire situation, the couple finds mutual confidence and solace to continue the struggle and dream.
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