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Charulata (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 17 April 1964 (India)
The lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with her visiting cousin-in-law, who shares her love for literature.


Satyajit Ray


Rabindranath Tagore (from the story "Nastaneer"), Satyajit Ray (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Top Rated Indian Movies #69 | 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Soumitra Chatterjee ... Amal
Madhabi Mukherjee ... Charulata
Shailen Mukherjee Shailen Mukherjee ... Bhupati Dutta (as Sailen Mukherjee)
Shyamal Ghoshal Shyamal Ghoshal ... Umapada
Gitali Roy Gitali Roy ... Mandakini
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tarapada Basu Tarapada Basu
Gopaldas Bhattacharya Gopaldas Bhattacharya
Dilip Bose Dilip Bose ... Shashanka
Ramesh Chandra Chandra Ramesh Chandra Chandra
Sunilkanta Dasgupta Sunilkanta Dasgupta
Nilotpal Dey Nilotpal Dey ... Joydeb
Bankim Ghosh Bankim Ghosh ... Jagannath
Ajit Gupta Ajit Gupta
Bholanath Koyal Bholanath Koyal ... Braja
Kamu Mukherjee Kamu Mukherjee


Charu lives a lonely and idle life in 1870s India. Although her husband Bhupati devotes more time to his newspaper than to their marriage, he sees her loneliness and asks his brother-in-law,Umapada to keep her company. At the same time Bhupati's own cousin, Amal, a would-be writer comes home finishing his college education. However, after several months, Charu and Amal's feelings for each other move beyond literary friendship. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.asutexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


"Tappa" is a form of Indian vocal music with a rolling pace. It originated from folk songs in Punjab. "Nidhubabur Tappa", or tappas sung by Nidhu Babu were mentioned in the social gathering held by Bhopal. Tappas were very popular in Bengal during the 18th and 19th-centuries. See more »


When Bhupati shows Amal his weekly newspaper 'The Sentinel', he reads the details as " 24th issue of the sentinel dated April the 9th, 1879' but when Amal sees it, the date is printed on the newspaper as 7 April, 1879. See more »


Charulata: [discussing the writings of Bankim-babu] What descriptions! His women are so beautiful! So much perfection isn't right. They make me feel ugly. They're all so beautiful. Mrinalini's beautiful, Radharanfs beautiful, Saibalini's beautiful, Kapalkundala's beautiful...
Amal: And Kundanandini?
Charulata: She's beautiful too, but not perfect.
Amal: Lutfunnessa's not perfect either. She's too tall and her lips are bit thin.
Charulata: And she's dark-skinned.
See more »


Referenced in Conversation with James Ivory (2010) See more »


God Save The Queen
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Played on the Piano by Amol (Kumar Basu)
See more »

User Reviews

Subtle Metaphors and Technical Sophistry within a Rigid Framework of Adaptation!
17 April 2011 | by shahriar_xclusiveSee all my reviews

Satyajit Ray's Charulata (1964) is considered to be a masterpiece and monument of timeless art and is also accepted as one of the best ever adaptations of a literary piece. The film is an adaptation of a short story named Nashtaneer by Rabindranath Tagore. This review contains Ray's subtle use of metaphors while handling the plot which deserves appreciation along with its other technical perfections.

The metaphors used in this film are countable but very much catchy and pleasant if related properly with each other. Ray successfully employed the metaphors within the constraint of film techniques. The mentionable metaphors are Charu's opera-glass, caged birds, carpet-shoe and Sentinel newspaper etc. In the very poetic opening sequence of the film is not bereft of any intention by the director. The use of opera-glass vision or binocular-vision (which is masked-shot to be precise) is very grabbing. Charu sees the world through opera-glass. Even she sees her husband Bhupati with it once. The immediate and swift zoom-out after the gaze is praiseworthy. In the film, Charu sees the world through it but whoever she sees goes out of her limited vision. She cannot but forced to let them go out of her vision. By the end of the film, she once again takes refuge to her glasses. The focus of her glasses (a boat) moves on. The only person static in her opera-glass is Amal as seen in the garden sequence. But Amal sneaks off at last rendering Charu's opera-glass a constant metaphor of both escapism and a means of escape. Two times in the film, caged birds are seen within the frame of a shot's composition. That is a perfect metaphor for representing Charu and Amal to some extent as if they can fly but within a limited confinement where flying does not even mean anything fruitful. The carpet-shoe metaphor is a perfect example of Charu's growing weakness for Amal. Charu knitted the pair of shoe with meticulous attention for Bhupati. This was a sign of her loyalty to her husband. But she presents it to Amal and it was clear that she was presenting her affinity for Amal by doing this. When Amal leaves, she angrily collects the pair of shoe from Amal's room but there is no indication that she will give it to Bhupati either. The metaphoric indication is clear _ Charu can never present her love to anyone anymore. The Sentinel newspaper is last but not the least metaphor here. It shifts its representational position which makes it an interesting metaphor. At first it was a symbol of Bhupati's workaholic mind and was appreciable. Then it turns itself as an image of political consciousness of Bhupati and thus assumes a negative connotation to the viewer. It is because Bhupati's obsession with politics fruits a chasm in a social relationship between him and his wife Charu. Then the newspaper becomes a symbol of Bhupati's failure. At the last freeze shot, a copy of the newspaper is seen which connotes itself to be nothing more than a scrap and thus a metonymy of a broken house. Among other metaphors, betel and Bishwabondhu magazine are prominent ones.

It is literally very tough to find flaws with editing of such a meticulously knitted film. In fact, there is none to be mentioned. The transition between scenes is smoothed by very charming fade-ins and fade-outs. There are cuts but torrent of the plot remains uninterrupted. It must be mentioned that superimposition used in order to ensure the transition between scenes were very successful. The most interesting was the last three freezes. It is at once appreciable and bears evidence of cinematic craftsmanship of Satyajit Ray. He was accused by a critic that Charulata has been a bad adaptation. But within the technical sophistication of a film; the necessity of deducing, adding and altering is technically and literally undeniable. Thus the subtlety of editing makes Charulata one of the most entertaining and pioneering films in Bengali of all times. The editing aids to condense the story within an accepted time frame. In a nutshell, the crafty editing makes Charulata even critics' favourite as well.

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Bengali | English

Release Date:

17 April 1964 (India) See more »

Also Known As:

Charulata: The Lonely Wife See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

R.D.Banshal & Co. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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