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A group of four middle class workers in India take the week off to have a holiday. When they get to the forest, they meet up with another group and spend their time flirting with women. Written by
David Gibson <djg6.ukc.ac.uk>
-'Aranyer Din Ratri' opens with four Calcuttan friends on a hedonistic road trip to a forest. Each friend has a distinctive personalitry trait: Ashim (Soumitra Chatterjee) is successful, slightly dominating and slightly narcissistic, Sanjoy (Subhendu Chatterjee) is shy, conventional and neutral, Shekhar (Robi Ghosh) is the funny one, and Hari (Samit Bhanja) is rash and impulsive. While they almost forcefully settle down in the guest house much against the caretaker's request (as it will cost him his job) and observe the surrounding locales, they come across three different women: Aparna (Sharmila Tagore) an enigmatic confident and smart young lady, her widowed sister-in-law (Kaberi Bose) who is welcoming and cheerful and a tribal girl named Duli (Simi Garewal) who is ready to offer services in exchange of money. It is this encounter in the forest that leads to a development that will change the lives of Ashim, Sanjoy and Hari while Shekhar remains his own funny self. Ray proves again that less can be more if done properly. The lyrical story is told with sheer subtlety and profound depth. The sexual chemistry, the underlying themes such as class differentiation, poverty, loneliness and love are displayed with a skillful quietness. His fluid direction and the actors performances draws the viewer into this little forest of quiet enigma. It is no surprise that Ray has worked with the best actors and 'Aranyer Din Ratri' is no different in that respect. The two Chatterjees, Ghosh and Bhanja are superb. It really felt as though we were watching four close friends. Garewal provides some comic relief. She may be an unusual choice for Duli but she pulls it off quite well. Sharmila Tagore excellently downplays the part of Aparna. Ray's films have a timeless quality as they never feel outdated. Needless to say, the terrific 'Aranyer Din Ratri' is one such movie.
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