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Charulata (1964)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  17 April 1964 (India)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 2,378 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 64 critic

The lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with her visiting cousin-in-law, who shares her love for literature.

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(from the story "Nastaneer"), (scenario), 1 more credit »
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Title: Charulata (1964)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Amal
Madhabi Mukherjee ...
Charulata
Shailen Mukherjee ...
Bhupati Dutta (as Sailen Mukherjee)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tarapada Basu
Gopaldas Bhattacharya
Dilip Bose ...
Shashanka
Ramesh Chandra Chandra
Sunilkanta Dasgupta
Nilotpal Dey ...
Joydeb
Bankim Ghosh ...
Jagannath
Shyamal Ghoshal ...
Umapada
Ajit Gupta
Bholanath Koyal ...
Braja
Kamu Mukherjee
Suku Mukherjee ...
Nishikanta
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Storyline

Charu lives a lonely and idle life in 1870s India. Although her husband Bhupati devotes more time to his newspaper than to their marriage, he sees her loneliness and asks his brother-in-law,Umapada to keep her company. At the same time Bhupati's own brother, Amal, a would-be writer comes home finishing his college education. However, after several months, Charu and Amal's feelings for each other move beyond literary friendship. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.asutexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 April 1964 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Charulata  »

Box Office

Gross:

$77,820 (USA)
 »

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Connections

References The Little Foxes (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Beautiful And Haunting Materpiece
7 February 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS**

Lacking the formidable cultural legacy of his earlier Apu trilogy, CHARULATA (Ray's 11th film) lacks nothing else – if Ray's overall style was derived from neo-realism; CHARULATA proved that – in his own uncluttered way – he was also a master of style and subtle elegance.

CHARULATA was perhaps Ray's most technically stunning work, featuring an elegant - if moody - story shot in a manner that finds Ray experimenting a bit. The story is set in an upper-class, intellectual household in 1890s India, and the period setting is rendered in great detail – giving the film a lush, living beauty that (thanks to the stunning cinematography of Subrata Mitra) never crosses over into stuffiness. In a handful of scenes, a French new wave influence can also be seen – primarily at the very end, and also in an earlier scene featuring the title character's recollections (in a quick-moving montage) of childhood memories.

Based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, the film explores marital complacency, as Bhupati (a wealthy publisher and political idealist, devotes the majority of his time to his publishing business, and to political interests, and grows increasingly isolated from his wife, Charulata. Charulata – as an attractive upper-class wife, is essentially expected to manage the household, and not much else, and is increasingly both lonesome (Bhupati is a generally pleasant enough husband, though also a severe workaholic who is rarely around, and - in his sexual politics - he is a product of his time) and intellectually restless.

In the midst of this, Bhupati's younger brother Amal arrives – Amal, a romantically inclined bohemian and recent college graduate who is searching for work while also pursuing literary ambitions, and has temporarily moved into the household. Amal and Charulata are instantly drawn to each other – first as intellectual companions, before an awareness of attraction is recognized. The two are plainly aware of the impossibility of the unrequited relationship, as Bhupati – after discovering than an employee has been embezzling form him – is then devastated to discover that his wife is turning away from him.

To highlight the increasing distance between each of the three characters, CHARULATA is formalistic in it's look (with the handful of well-placed new-wave-inflected scenes adding textural complexity and emotionalism), with the classical touches of the cinematography underscoring the characters' ever-increasing distance from each other. Exploring sexual and class politics - with great depth and complexity - in a historical setting (while – in its' exploration of idealistic, nationalistic politics – making subtle connections to the present-day handling of the same issues in Bengali society), with flawless performances from all, CHARULATA is a beautiful and haunting masterpiece.


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