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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
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Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton GCB GCSI GCIE PC (8 November 1831 - 24 November 1891) was an English statesman and poet. He served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880, during which time Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. 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 »
All done with studies, exams, professors, cutting classes.
What's left? Foolishness and mischief?
Poetry. Rhythm. You know, I was thinking.
All of life is like a rhythm. Birth - death. Day - night. Happiness - sorrow. Meeting - parting. Like the waves on the ocean, now rising - now falling. One compliments the other.
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As cinema appears to become ever more loud and brash, a work as delicate, subtle and understated as this may easily pass unnoticed, or mistaken as insipid. That is a great shame, since this is obviously a great masterpiece. Set in India in the last century, Charulata is trapped in a dull, stifling marriage. What starts off as innocent flirting with her brother-in-law soon sets off emotions that none of them, decent though they all are, can really control. There is no adultery as such - the betrayal is all in the mind - but the trust implicit in marriage is broken, and the future can only be faced with uncertainty.
This is a film of great grace and elegance, and also of considerable wit. But underneath the surface charm is a great seriousness. As always, Ray depicts the development of the characters with great insight and sensitivity, and coaxes fine performances from his cast. Western critics, in discussing this film, often draw parallels with the works of Chekhov or of Henry James, but Ray's inspiration was actually the great Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, on whose short novel this film was based. As a piece of film-making, it is absolute perfection - a real gem.
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