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Review of

Charulata  (1964 - Bengali)

Charulata movie review, and Charulata critics rating, comments on Charulata

Charulata cumulative rating: 4.7 out of 54.7/5 (5 users)

My Rating

  • Charulata rating: 9 out of 10(Dipen Guha wrote on 08 Oct 2009)

    In an interview Satyajit Ray observes, "Charulata is, per haps, the film of least flaws I have made so far". Amal arrives in a bold striped, flying hair and raised umbrella in the middle of the first storm, just when the surface calm of the couple's daily routine has been established, but we have evidence of the wife's inner restlessness. It is literary cliche, so worn out that even in transposing it to the cinema, Ray clothes it in the disguise of Amal's comical cry ---"Haray Muraray..."( O Krishna, the slayer of the demons) ! That cry has a self- consciousness which reflects the director's own, in using the age-old device. It just comes off, Ray saving himself from the banal by the skin of his teeth, as he quickly moves on to the next scene---before we begin to hear the creaks at the joins of the theatrical prop.
    The storm next comes in handy, after the last garden scene, ehere Charu has found that Amal's interest in her is not of his own making, but inspired by her husband. Thunder rumbles, Amal comes looking for her, too dumb in the vanity of his own literary prowess, male superiority and general irresponsibility, to know what it is that has hurt her so. Near the door he finds Manda, is told she is on the terrace, and wanders off uncertainly in the direction of her room. The wind howls. Enter Charu with a bundle of clothes under her arm, caustically putting Manda ( whom she has recognised as her rival) in her place, for Manda should have brought them down, seeing that the storm brewing in Charu's mind, in classic literary style, safe in the cinema where it can go unrecognised. Perhaps it is also more apt in treating a contemporary subject.
    But nowhere is the device more brilliantly brought off than in the scene of Charu's breakdown into violent sobbing towards the end of the film. Bhupati and Charu have just come back from the sea-side, reconciled to their respective losses. Bhupati's open one of the loss of money and trust in human nature, in his manager (Charu's brother)'s betrayal, Charu's secret one of the loss of Amal, who realising that he was about to betray another trust, has disappeared.
    Amal's letter has come, has been read by Bhupati, and Charu knows now that he has decided to get married and go off to England. Bhupati has just left the room to go out for a while. Charu has the letter in her hand, and the memory of her happiness with Amal swells up in her as the storm rises. The wind howls, thunder rumbles, and in what is surely one of the finest moments of acting Madhabi Mukherjee is trying desperately to control herself. A window bangs, the glass splinters with a tense tinkle, and Madhabi falls on the bed, breaking into uncontrollable sobs speaking out her secret loudly for the first time, just in time of that tinkle is exactly calculated, and completely successful in its intent.
    Everything comes to light to Bhupati. Suffering from the pangs of conscience Bhupati discovers his foil as a husband. There is a hard-earned endeavour to fill he void, but the couple's upheld hands do not meet.

    About the Author:

    Dipen Guha

    Location: Kolkata, India

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    My recent posts: PK movie review, Nirbaak movie review(view all posts)


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