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Choker Bali: A Passion Play (2003)

Chokher Bali (original title)
1:08 | Clip
The book, Binodini, is the story of a young woman, who is left to her own devices when her sickly husband dies soon after they are married. She returns to her village and lives there for a ... See full summary »


Rituparno Ghosh


Rituparno Ghosh (screenplay) (as Rituporno Ghosh), Rabindranath Tagore (novel)
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan ... Binodini (as Aishwarya Rai)
Prasenjit Chatterjee ... Mahendra
Raima Sen ... Ashalata
Lily Chakravarty ... Rajlakshmi, Mahendra's mother (as Lilly Chakraborty)
Tota Roy Chowdhury ... Behari
Sonali Chakrabarti Sonali Chakrabarti
Sudeshna Roy Sudeshna Roy
Mousumi Saha Mousumi Saha
Suchita Ray Chaudhury Suchita Ray Chaudhury
Zarin Chowdhury Zarin Chowdhury
Abhishek Bose Abhishek Bose
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bharati Devi ... Dying woman at varanasi
Charlotte Hayward Charlotte Hayward ... Vomiting missionary
Shadman Mahtab Mihad Shadman Mahtab Mihad ... Angel
Josh Ilah Islam Nitol Josh Ilah Islam Nitol ... Princess


The book, Binodini, is the story of a young woman, who is left to her own devices when her sickly husband dies soon after they are married. She returns to her village and lives there for a couple of months until she sees one of her relations passing by there on her way to somewhere else. Binodini hails the woman and the two soon agree that it would be best if Binodini came to live with the woman and her son, Mahendra (who, by the way, was one of the first to see Binodini's photo when she was unwed and up for grabs yet refused her on account of his being "unready for marriage"). Now, when the two arrive the woman's son and his new bride are in the throes of passion, constantly sneaking off to be alone together; this infatuation does not last long, however, when Mahendra begins to see that his wife's friend, Binodini, is more his type. The story details the lives of these three and Mahendra's best friend as they deal with certain issues as distrust, adultery, lies, and numerous ... Written by gavin (gunmasterM@hotmail.com)

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Plot Keywords:

doctor | based on novel | See All (2) »




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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

23 August 2006 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Choker Bali: A Passion Play See more »

Filming Locations:

Calcutta, West Bengal, India See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

SVF Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| | (Bollywood Festival Stuttgart) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Aishwarya Rai wore dark brown contact lenses for her role. See more »


Binodini comes to Kolkata before the Ambubachi festival, which falls in the month of June. But while talking to Behari in the picnic scene she says that she has been here since Shravana (mid July to mid August). See more »


Version of Chokher Bali (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Tagore's Vintage Classic... That is enduring... That is alluring
24 February 2005 | by sreenyvasn-1See all my reviews

Chokher Bali – A passion play.

Based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel of the same name, this is a classic tale of deception, adultery and relationship exploitation. Set in 1900 Bengal, director Rituparno Ghosh transformed the Nobel Laureates' acclaimed literature into a delightful visual treat.

Tagore's story elaborately deals with the Bengali society, through his central character, the rebellious widow, who wants to live a life of her own. We are taken into the picturesque part of Bengal, where we meet our heroine, the beautiful, young widow Binodini (Aishwarya Rai).

Despite her gorgeous looks, two handsome men, the rich Mahindra (Prosenjit Chatterji) and his friend Behari (Toto Roychowdhury), denied marrying her.

Mahindra chooses a naive Ashalata (Raima Sen) over Binodini and marries her. Leaving behind the country life, the free-spirited Binodini accompanies Mahindra's mother to Calcutta as a caretaker. Soon, her friendship with Ashalata flourishes. It looks like, the two, addressing each other as 'Chokher Bali' (sand in the eyes), share an enduring bond. The English-speaking Binodini captures a special place in the house. But, soon, she unmasks her real face. Manipulating good-natured Ashlata, Binodini gets closer with Mahindra and fulfills her sexual desires.

When, she is thrown out by the enraged mother of Mahindra, Binodini seeks solace from a reluctant Behari. The remaining part of the story shows how the lives of these four characters crisscross and culminate in an unimaginable climax… Aishwarya walks through the role—a manipulative, rebellious lady, still gaining the viewer's sympathy—with a ballet dancer's elegance. The other lead artistes—Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen and Toto Roychowdhury—are equally brilliant, in enacting their characters.

While Tagore penned this 'mould-breaking' story at the turn of the 20th century, the very idea of widow marriage was a taboo, even among the upper class! Narrating the nations' freedom movement in parallel, the author asserts the importance of individual freedom from the caged life. Kudos to the art director, who gave life to the early 20th century Bengal, and applause to the cinematographer for capturing those sets with verve.

This 'passion play,' by Tagore, has been fervently converted to the screen by the ablest filmmaker without loosing its originality.

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