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An Enemy of the People (1989)
"Ganashatru" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  19 January 1990 (India)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 337 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 10 critic

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Credited cast:
Dr. Ashok Gupta (as Soumitra Chattopadhyay)
Dhritiman Chatterjee ...
Nishith Gupta (as Dhritiman Chattopadhyay)
Dipankar Dey ...
Haridas Bagchi
Ruma Guha Thakurta ...
Maya Gupta (as Ruma Guhathakurta)
Mamata Shankar ...
Indrani Gupta
Subhendu Chatterjee ...
Biresh Guha (as Subhendu Chattopadhyay)
Manoj Mitra
Bhishma Guhathakurta ...
Ranen Haldar
Satya Bannerjee ...
Landlord (as Satya Bandyopadhyay)
Rajaram Yagnik ...
Mr. Bhargav
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ashok Bera
Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Sharmi Chakraborty
Ajit Chatterjee
Purna Chattopadhyay


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Release Date:

19 January 1990 (India)  »

Also Known As:

An Enemy of the People  »

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Must be made a mandatory viewing in all Indian schools
10 December 2010 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Even after 63 years of independence India is still in the strong grip of religious superstition and many medieval prejudices. The caste system runs deep in the society and often determines person's identity. Daily newspapers run a dedicated section on astrology, alternate medicines like Homeopathy gets millions of dollars in government funding, the Nation is more opinionated on religious issues than on real issue like poverty and education and all these happens under the active support and promotion from the educated urban middle class contrary to what many would like to believe, the illiterate rural masses. The movie is a slap on the face of such so-called educated and a stark warning what could happen if religious sentiments of the people is misused or abused to achieve personal goals, a fact India would so painfully be facing within just 2 years after the release of the movie. Ray could see what is coming, and like all true artist for whom his work is more than just art and in reality a medium of communication has tried to fulfill his duties to make the people aware of what he saw was coming.

It is not one of "those" art films, in fact there is very little art into it. Ray was very fragile while shooting his last 3 films, so most of the shots are indoor and very archaic and to the point. Despite his illness he attempted this movie to tell his fellow citizen what grave danger the Nation is facing, there one can see the other side of Ray almost as a social reformer.

Unlike many others however, Ray delivered the message in a way that should hurt nobody, even though Ray himself was an atheist. The movie brings forth the eternal conflict between hard scientific fact and the opposing religious doctrine. In the movie the young generation ultimately favors science and this optimism about India that Ray has envisioned is the best part of the movie, indeed the most touching part.

The screenplay is very simple and banal yet appropriate and I can't imagine it can be made any better without tipping off the scale. Dhritiman excels Soumitra but that's my opinion. The advantage of working with known and trusted crew of such stalwarts is that it takes away a lot of hardship from an exhausted director without compromising any on the quality!

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