A group of Calcutta city slickers, including the well-off Asim (Soumitra Chatterjee), the meek Sanjoy (Subhendu Chatterjee) and the brutish Hari (Samit Bhanja), head out for a weekend in the wilderness.
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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>
Four urban men go into a jungle retreat to have carnal fun with tribal women but by the end they receive more than just fun.
Film opens with a shot of paddy fields while a man traveling with his pals in a car ,reads the following " Bengali people are as happy looking at seasons and nature, as they are at looking death in the face". Now I'm not very sure whether this statement is true, but I suspect that this kind of cultured stoicism aptly applies to the director of this movie - Satyajit Ray. Four friends - all young men from Calcutta- go into a forest and plan to stay in a rest house there, while aspiring to have sexual fun with tribal women who are presumed to be liberal in such matters. Of course, this sort of plot is not standard territory for the said director but even with this unlikely template, Ray directs his masterly rays of perspective to illumine the hinterlands and give larger wings to a fledgling premise.
Though it is not set in the city or even a village, the film is a composite shot of civilization in decline. But in Ray's world, there is always hope, a calm sense of being obliged to emerge from the ruins, and in A.D.R we also see a beautiful example of strong but tranquil feminism.
This latter aspect emerges in the form of Sharmila Tagore who registers a great performance in this movie. In Ghare Baire, Ray made Victor Banerjee essay a model man, and here he has Sharmila Tagore giving us a portrait of the model woman. Kohl-lined beautifully curving eyes, luxuriant hair coiffed into a bouffant, and a softly contoured figure clothed in sari ,all set off a face that can essay feminine mystique as smoothly as it can show child-like amusement. Aparna (Tagore), it is steadily revealed, is gifted intellectually, bears the weight of the past, nurtures a humane mind and yet sequesters all these facets beneath a regally controlled visage that can hint at displeasure as beautifully as it can sport a smile.
Technically too, this is an accomplished film with superior camera-work by Soumendu Roy. There is a famous static shot in which the lens stands just outside the car window and looks inside, through the car compartment, and past the other window into the background -4 visual planes hold four different people ,all sporting a range of interesting expressions and emotional dynamics. The other memorable sequence is the Memory Game wherein all the players are seated in a circle, and the lens flicks from one face to another as they play the game.
Starting with this script, countless other story-tellers might have produced a work of dissipated effect, but Satyajit Ray makes fine use of the novel by Sunil Gangopadhyay to present not just a sylvan jaunt enjoyed by four young men, but also an elegantly presented humanist tapestry. Some directors don't need the Midas touch, they possess something greater.
For full review and other cinema analysis you may visit http://www.upnworld.com/movie/view/id/6/title/Aranyer+Din+Ratri
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