Sexuality in Satyajit Ray's Films - Part III

Sexuality in Satyajit Ray's Films - Part III

Chandi Mukherjee20 Jul 2009

Satyajit Ray's films have already been analyzed from various possible angles. But least have been written or discussed about the sexuality, hidden or subtle or expressive, of his films. In the most of the cases he has used sexuality in a very subtle manner. In this third part I try to find some more subtle areas using some more of his acclaimed works.

Satyajit Ray′s films have already been analyzed from various possible angles. But least have been written or discussed about the sexuality, hidden or subtle or expressive, of his films. In the most of the cases he has used sexuality in a very subtle manner. In this third part I try to find some more subtle areas using some more of his acclaimed works.

Case#5 / Aranyer Dinratri:

Satyajit Ray′s movies: Aranyer Dinratri, Ghare Baire, Satranj Ke Khiladi, Apur SansarSatyajit Rays movies: Aranyer Dinratri, Apur Sansar, Satranj Ke Khiladi, Ghare Baire

This is the only film where Ray used blatantly love, lust and sex.

The three pairs are 1) Hari & Duli, 2) Ashim & Aparna and 3) Sekhar & Jaya.

Duli, the santhal girl was provocative physical right from the beginning. They unite physically in the jungle. Hari being cheated by his urban girlfriend took revenge by assaulting sexually another woman. He ejaculates his anger, his hatred toward women. So, here, Ray directly showed us the physical union between Hari and Duli.

Jaya was widow. But she was still young. She felt some kind of sexual attraction from a man. She hadn′t come close to any man after the death of her husband. So when she found Sekhar alone, she requested him to touch her breast. Her breast was heaving then. Ray showed the heaving of breast in close-up. Here we found emergence of a suppressed sex from a woman.

Ashim and Aparna played a certain game which seemed a subtle sexual move. Ashim was a clever guy. He found Aparna, both physically and mentally much more evolved and of higher standard then Jaya and Duli.

He was calculative. Though he was sexually attracted towards Aparna, he never expressed his desire blatantly. Aparna also was aware of herself. She also kept her cool. She knew she would marry Ashim, and then what′s the hurry. But Ray constantly kept an undercurrent of sexuality in this relationship. Ray knew the blatant sexuality of Hari and Jaya won′t last long. So, he forced them to express their desire hurriedly.

This way Ray treated three different kinds of sexuality in this film.

Case#6 / Pikoo:

In this film Ray showed adult sexuality from the point of views of two persons who are above any kind of sexuality. One is Pikoo, the eight year old boy, and the other is Pikoo′s grandfather who is eighty years old.

Hitesh Kaku and Pikoo′s mother are engaged in serious physical relationship in each afternoon, when Pikoo′s father is away in office. Why both the mother and Hitesh Kaku are engaged in this kind of physicality - Ray didn′t answer this; rather the answer was not required at all.

But the illicit relationship was like sex-starved dog who shouts nearby to the eight year old Pikoo. Pikoo shouts in front of the closed door like he shouts when the dog barks heavily. Hearing Pikoo′s shout the dog stops barking and simultaneously it brings some kind of dramatic pause to the couple behind the closed door. Their physical union gets some kind of obstacle.

Ray though never showed us what the couple was doing actually behind the door, but we can easily guess what is happening between them. Though Pikoo didn′t know what is exactly happening.

The old man understood what was really happening, but he was helpless, he even couldn′t shout like Pikoo. But his trembling fingers easily explains us that illicit sexual act in happening in the next room.

Thus from two asexual person′s point of view Ray has dealt one illicit sexual relationship in this 30 minute short film.

Case#7  / Shatranj Ke Khiladi:

In this film Ray used two males, who actually don′t believe in sex. But their wives do. And one king who is effeminate.

So, here he dealt with suppressed women sex. The wives of Mir and Mirza - the two friends who always keep themselves busy in playing chess do not bother about the sexual desires of their wives.

Mir and Mirza were not elaborately sketched in Premchand′s novel. Satyajit Ray developed it. In developing the decadence of Ayodhya at that time he designed the two characters devoid of sex. It is very important to note that to Ray; the sign of decadence is asexuality. Though the wives are desperate to have sex, they either try to stop their involvement with the chess playing or they try to build a hidden sexual relationship with a young man.

Inspite of knowing the attitude of their wives they don′t change themselves. They literally allowed their wives in their hidden relationships and shows they accept their inability in sexual acts.

Case#8 / Ghare Baire:

Here there is again an illicit love story by Tagore. Sandip and Bimala′s attraction towards each other was like Charu, Bimala was married to Nikhilesh. But like Charu she also had no children. Why, the answer was not given by Ray again.

Here Sandip directly approaches Bimala physically. He kisses Bimala. Bimala also approved this attitude of Sandip, who was actually a friend of Nikhilesh. Bimala was attracted physically toward Sandip without any deep physical desire.

How far they were close? Ray used the same trick as he used in Apur Sansar, to show the sexual intimacy between the two, Ray again used a hair-clip. Sandip showed the hair clip of Bimala to Nikhilesh to prove his physical proximity to her.

There are eight cases where there are signs of sexuality in Ray′s film. But there are very broad examples. If we study more intently we would find more subtle examples of finer sexuality in the Maestro′s films.

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good story; not written very well though. sounds a bit dry the way it's composed. the analysis, however, is the winner here. I expect more good stuff from you guys such as a piece on the superstars of each decade and their pattern of rise to the stardom (just my suggestion).
Posted by Amit on  Jul 21 2009 12:17AM

Do you agree with the author, that according to Ray, the sign of decadence is asexuality.

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