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A well-off family is paid an unexpected, and rather unwanted, visit by a man claiming to be the woman's long-lost uncle. The initial suspicion with which they greet the man slowly dissolves... See full summary »
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.
The story of a young boy, Apu, and life in his small Indian village. His parents are quite poor - his father Harihar, a writer and poet, gave away the family's fruit orchard to settle his brother's debts. His sister Durga and an old aunt also still lives with them. His mother Sarbojaya bears the brunt of the family's situation. She scrapes by and sells her personal possessions to put food on the table and has to bear the taunts of her neighbors as Durga is always stealing fruit from their orchard. Things get worse when Harihar disappears for five months and Durga falls ill. Even after Harihar returns, the family is left with few alternatives. Written by
Because of all the many delays in this film's nearly three-year production, director Satyajit Ray became increasingly apprehensive that some event might occur to prevent his finishing it. In fact, he attributed his success in that regard to three miraculous occurrences (or rather non-occurrences), referring to his cast by their character names: "One, Apu's voice did not break. Two, Durga did not grow up. Three, Indir Thakrun did not die." See more »
Although the film is set in early 20th Century rural India (a time in which public health campaigns presumably did not exist), when Apu and Durga are shown hiding in the fields waiting to catch a glimpse of the train, a vaccination mark is clearly visible on the right arm of Uma Das Gupta, who portrays Durga. See more »
By leaf of lime and karamcha tree, rain, rain, away with thee! Rain, rain, away with thee!
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There is this one scene in Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali when the eruption of a conflict between Apu's family and a quarrelsome neighbour brought the film to a complete standstill (for me anyway). Those few characters' state of mind and their relationship dynamics at that point in time, was conveyed with such explosive intensity, I got gut punched drunk.
Pather Panchali boasts of suitably melodramatic yet highly intuitive performances. Its breath taking cinematography ranks alongside existential beauty this side of Malick heaven. The musical scoring, by the great Ravi Shankar, is identifiably Indian, yet universally sublime. Together, these myriad parts melded into a whole so grand in its social consciousness, so incisively intimate in its portrait of one family, I could do nothing but be slowly devoured like a most willing prey.
On 4th Oct 2003, I saw my all time favourite film, Tokyo Story. The feeling I got today from Pather Panchali, is as close as is possible from that fateful October day.
Pather Panchali is one of the best films I have ever seen. This will be a night to remember. Now on with the other two then.
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