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Nayak: The Hero (1966)
"Nayak" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  13 April 1994 (France)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 1,226 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 22 critic

En route to Delhi to receive an award, a Bengali film star reevaluates his success through his fellow passengers, dreams and past experiences.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Uttam Kumar ...
Arindam Mukherjee
Sharmila Tagore ...
Aditi
Bireswar Sen ...
Mukunda Lahiri
Somen Bose ...
Sankar
Nirmal Ghosh ...
Jyoti
Premangshu Bose ...
Biresh
Sumita Sanyal ...
Promila Chatterjee
Ranjit Sen ...
Haren Bose
Bharati Devi ...
Lali Chowdhury ...
Bulbul (Mr. Bose's daughter)
Kamu Mukherjee ...
Pritish Sarkar (as Kamu Mukhopadhyay)
Susmita Mukherjee ...
Molly (Mr. Sarkar's wife) (as Susmita Mukhopadhyay)
Subrata Sensharma ...
Ajoy (as Subrata Sen)
Jamuna Sinha ...
Sefalika (Ajoy's wife)
Hiralal ...
Kamal Misra
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Storyline

A matinee idol Arindam Mukherjee (Uttam Kumar) is going by train to collect an acting award. On the train, he is confronted by a journalist Aditi (Sharmila Tagore) who somewhat unwillingly starts to take his interview. Arindam, won over by Aditi's naivete, starts to disclose his past, his fears and his secrets. On a parallel track, a number of sub-plots unfold (involving an advertising executive and his wife, a businessman and his family, a silent swami and a cranky old man) to reveal the hypocrisies and frailties of the society. The film reaches a climax when Arindam, overcome by his guilt, contemplates suicide and is dissuaded by Aditi. The next morning, Aditi who had surreptitiously taken notes of their conversation destroys them - not wanting to reveal Arindam's darkest secrets. When the train reaches its destination, Arindam alights and is surrounded by his fans and is back to his normal star self where there is no place for guilt, confessions and Aditi. Written by Diptakirti Chaudhuri <diptakirti@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

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13 April 1994 (France)  »

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The Hero  »

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User Reviews

Another one of Ray's less known but remarkable gems.
28 September 2007 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

'Nayak' starts with two news headlines about movie star Arindham (Uttam Kumar). One headline states that Arindham got involved in a brawl and the other states his nomination for a prestigious award. While travelling to Delhi by train (in order to receive the award) he comes across various people including a young simple but modern journalist Aditi (Sharmila Tagore) to whom he confides his inner thoughts. In the process, the actor further discovers himself and his fear. Aditi too is moved as her prejudice against the cocky pompous movie star changes while she discovers the man behind the name.

Ray cleverly tells Arindham's story about how he made it to stardom, his sacrifice of his art, loss of friends leading to isolation, fear of failure, seeking comfort in alcohol, his inner conflict...He weaves it all into a screenplay that takes place during a train trip from Calcutta to Delhi. A lot of it is shown in flashback mode. The dream sequences are another example of fine writing and execution. We're also given a brief view of the corrupt world of cinema, how art is long lost and how it's become all about money, fame and name...very relevant and applicable to today's Indian film industry.

Uttan Kumar, being the biggest star in Bengali Cinema perfectly fits the part. One wonders how much of the character resembles Kumar in real life. Though Ray is known to cast Soumitra Chatterjee (who happened to be Kumar's arch rival) in most of his films, he made the correct decision by casting Kumar for I cannot imagine anyone else play the part. Sharmila Tagore is wonderful. The actress has an amazing presence and with her grace, simplicity and sincerity, she shines. 'Loved her scenes with Uttam.

Like most of Ray's powerful work, 'Nayak' is a rather less known but remarkable film. One of my favorites!


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