Dipen Guhawrote on Jul 17 2009 7:09PM
36 Chowringhee Lane deals with the lonliness and dissapoinyments of an Anglo-Indian school teacher Violet Stoncham who lives on her own in a dark and dingy apartment with a cat for company. Her friends and relatives have all left India for good. The only person close to her still in India is her brother Eddie, who, senile and mentally deranged, is in a home for the aged.
Returning home from church on Christmas day, Violet chances to meet Nandita, a former student. Samaresh, Nandita's boyfriend, is with her. They accept the invitation of Violet for coffee.However, they , in no time, realise the possibilities inherent in the solitude of Violet's house as the happy-haunt in privacy. Samaresh persuades Violet to allow him to use her apartment while she is at school , so that he can write the novel he has long been planning to write in an atmosphere of peace and quiet.
For a while, this arrangement works well for everyone. Samaresh and Nandita chance to enjoy their intimate moments, while Violet , after her return from school, derive gusto of life and warmth in their company. Thus an intimate relation grows between Violet and the lovers.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere is school is begining to turn sour for Violet. A new head of the English department, with the right professional qualifications, but with very little experience, orders Violet to remain confined in teaching English grammar and stay away from literature. Violet suffers a great frustration but the jocund company of the young couple at home acts like a balm, a feeling of security. One day she returns to her apartment unexpectedly and discovers, for what purpose the young couple has been using her apartment. Events take a turn for the worse. Eddie dies, and her last link with the Anglo-Indian world is severed. Samaresh lands a job and marries Nandita. As a wedding gift, Nandita's parents give them a fully furnished apartment, Now they have no more use of Violet's apartment.
Violet finds it increasingly difficult to accept the situation. She pays a visit to the young couple and expresses her hope that their relationship, which means so much to her, will once again florish. It's Christmas once again; Violet invites Nandita and Samaresh for tea, but they decline with a plea of other engagement. Violet is greatly disappointed and the film ends with Violet in total and unbearable isolation. The final image of her is on a dark and wet night , all by herself, reciting her favourite Shakespearean lines to a desolate street.