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The Middleman (1976)
"Jana Aranya" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  March 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 522 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 10 critic

After months of unemployment, recent college graduate Somnath enters business as a middleman, but he finds out when success means finding a client's weak spot, the price is more than mere ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Middleman (1976)

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Credited cast:
Pradip Mukherjee ...
Somnath (as Pradip Mukhopadhyay)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rafiq Ahmed ...
(as Dr. Rafiq Ahmed)
S. Bagchi
Ajit Banerjee
Krishna Banerjee
Sachin Banerjee
Samaresh Banerjee
Sudip Banerjee
Satya Bannerjee ...
Somnath's Father
Gita Basu
Arati Bhattacharya ...
Mrs. Ganguli
Sachin Bhattacharya
Umanath Bhattacharya
Jatish Bhora
Rajen Brijnath


After months of unemployment, recent college graduate Somnath enters business as a middleman, but he finds out when success means finding a client's weak spot, the price is more than mere rupees. Written by Erik Gregersen <>

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March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jana Aranya  »

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One of the films of the Calcutta Trilogy, the others being The Adversary (1970) and Company Limited (1972). See more »

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User Reviews

A cult classic !!
19 June 2013 | by See all my reviews

" The middleman is the last film on the Calcutta trilogy if we do not consider Mahanagar along the same genres. The protagonist Somnath is an educated unemployed youth struggling with his life in Calcutta. Somnath fails to get the distinctions in his BA because his answer scripts from university exam goes to a professor who had problems in reading his small hand writings with his broken borrowed specs. The result of which is a mere pass marks in graduation much to the irk of his retired father. Somnath's quest with job in corporate Calcutta develops a chain of frustration, regrets, new relationships and dark humors to the amusement of the audience. He finds no answers to stupid questions asked by interview board as "what is the weight of the moon". The only support he gets is from his affectionate sister in law who gifts him a new watch as he enters the challenging phase of job search.

To add to his worry his long term girl friend dumps him in order to seek stability for her by an arranged marriage. There is a strong melodrama on the break up scene which catches the audience. Probably women always break up with a sense of encouragement with the dumped men and Ray brilliantly uses Aprana Sen for this role of Somnath's ex girl friend. Destiny chances upon Somnath when he meets an old football game friend who offers him support to start his own business and to leave the false illusion of cracking a job interview. The rest of the story involves Somnath learning the business rules as an order supplier or middleman.

The script is adapted from the story of Sankar and portraits the missing ethics in corporate world very strongly. The use of PRO (public relations officer) and tricks for luring procurement managers forms the main learning curve for Somnath as his middle class values are put to test for these tricks. Finally Somnath gives up and decides to follow the road ahead at the cost of his internal soul sufferings.

Ray brilliantly uses the plot in a simple and lucid way and this film is not a complex film as "The competitor". The climax is the last 20 minutes when Somnath struggles with his PRO to get a women (escort) for the client manager and ends up hiring his best friend's sister who has unfortunately turned into an underground call girl forced by sheer poverty. Somnath commercial success and his moral failure marks the end of the film as he fails to make an eye contact with his sister in law in the last scene. Somnath's win's in the end but fails to earn the respect and admiration from himself or from his sister in law. Somnath is definitely gray in shade or rather gets converted from a white shade to grey as he fights back the whole system for his own metabolism and future of a better tomorrow. For sure this contrast makes the end of the Calcutta trilogy".

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