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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)

The Middleman (1976) on IMDb 7.8/10

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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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Release Date:

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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Can't lick 'em, so join 'em
19 December 2010 | by (India) – See all my reviews

This film is unique among Ray's films in that it concludes on a note of profound despair. It shows us society at a stage beyond redemption, where people are helplessly sucked into a life without honor, hope or human dignity, and are beyond caring, having accepted rottenness as a way of life.

The film opens on a note of utter cynicism as we see a sight that most of us are familiar with--flagrant cheating going on in an examination. The invigilators close their eyes making routine hollow noises of "silence! silence!" perhaps for the gods or passers to hear. We have heard to students who go to the examination hall armed with a knife A man comes from outside and passes a sheet of paper with all the answers. The invigilators shrug indifferently as they pace up and down the aisle.

Somnath Banerjee is a bright boy, the hope and pride of his idealist father. However the examination results are far below his deserts, a result of clear mis-checking. But there is no remedy and he joins the sea of job-seekers where there are a hundred thousand applicants for ten jobs. His girl friend is forced to marry someone else because he has no means of support. His friend Sukumar languishes in destitution with his ailing family, depending on the earnings of a sister who, we are soon to learn, makes a living from the ancient profession. The two friends call on a legislator with their predicament, to be turned back with platitudes, tinged with sarcasm and even gloating.

He is drawn to business by an old friend of his. He starts buying and selling commodities on a commission basis and is soon earning decently, much to his family's satisfaction. Finally, to clinch a crucial deal he must arrange a woman for an important client. We are introduced to a series of brothels. The girl he manages to arrange is none other than the sister of his best friend Sukumar, who meanwhile has become a taxi driver.

The film would be melodramatic in lesser hands or if it was not so searingly close to realities. In the hands of Ray, it turns into a brilliant X Ray picture of a society which has hollowed out with canker.

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