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The Coward (1965) - Plot Summary Poster

(1965)

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  • Calcutta based screenwriter Amitabha Roy is traveling to Hashimara in north Bengal partly to visit his brother-in-law and partly to do research for what will be his third film. En route from Siliguri to Hashimara via taxi, Ami becomes stranded when the taxi breaks down in a small, remote town, the local mechanic who does not have the necessary part to fix it, meaning that the taxi will not be repaired for a couple of days seeing that it is the weekend. Although he does need to get to Hashimara soon, the plan to take the next train the following day the rest of the way, Ami is more concerned about where he will stay overnight. Although there is a small local hotel, he is offered a place to stay by and at the home of simpleminded Bimal Gupta, a local tea plantation owner who would like the company for the night seeing as to the isolation of the plantation and thus not seeing many people beyond his staff with who he does and cannot socialize. It isn't until Ami arrives with Bimal at his bungalow that he learns that Bimal's wife of three years is Karuna, his long lost love who he has not seen in several years, their previous relationship about which Bimal knows nothing. Ami and Karuna broke up largely because Ami would not make the commitment to marry especially as he knew her family did not approve of him being a poor student at the time. Ami has always been and is still in love with her - something he makes clear to her when they have a moment alone - and has been unable to move on romantically to any other woman since. Events of the evening and the next day until Ami needs to catch the train evoke memories for Ami of his previous time with Karuna. Ultimately, Ami would like them to reconcile as a couple. What happens is not only dependent upon if Karuna is in love with her husband, but also if she is still in love with Ami.

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  • Amitabha Roy (Soumitra Chatterjee), a scriptwriter has a breakdown near a tea-estate and he is offered a place to stay by the estate manager (Haradhan Banerjee) at his bungalow. When he reaches, Amitabha finds out that the manager is married to his ex-girlfriend, Karuna (Madhabi Mukherjee). The manager has invited Amitabha to assuage his own boredom and fails to notice the uneasiness between his wife and the guest. The plot unfolds over a period of approximately one-day when they have dinner, breakfast and go for a picnic and small gestures rekindle Amitabha's memories. Through a series of flashbacks, he remembers their first meeting, courtship and separation (which was solely because of his lack of courage to make a commitment). Amitabha's current affluence and his suspicion of Karuna's unhappiness leads him to propose to Karuna once again but she is inclined to believe that the time to muster up courage has gone past.


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