"Ganasatru" is Satyajit Roy's twenty-fourth full length feature film. The film is Ray's own adaptatin of Henrik Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People". Ibsen's play has been transformed by Ray, unlike its treatment by Arthur Miller. The setting is, through and through, contemporary, a small town in Bengal with reputation as a health resort, some way from Kolkata. Ibsen's Dr. Stockman has become Dr. Asok Gupta (Soumitra Chatterjee), the head of a hospital run by a trust established by a local Marwari industrialist, Bhargava. Gupta's brother Nisith (Dhritiman Chatterjee) is a bigwig and the head of the hospital committee, and therefore technically his brother's boss. He is also the head of the committee running the town's very popular temple. Andrew Robinson remarks, "The introduction of the temple into the story is Ray's masterstroke. It enabled him to turn Ibsen into Ray-via Chekov: to make what generally ranks as one of the thinnest of Ibsen's mature works..".It is the temple's water supply that is contaminated as a result of shoddy pipe -laying when the temple was built ten years ago. There is an outbreak of jaundice . Most of the affected are the frequenters to the temple. Laboratory tests in Kolkata confirm the suspection of Dr. Gupta as fact. Now a strong ill-feeling comes to pass between Dr. Gupta and Bhargava accompanied by Nisith. Bhargava like many dogmat Hindus believes that holy water--charanamrita-cannot be impure as it contains Ganges water and tulsipata, sacred basil leaves. The local newspaper editor is at first keen to warn the town, but reverts. Dr. Gupta calls for a public meeting at the town communin hall to make the people understand the scintific truth.Nisit lands up there to tell upon his brother's noble enterprise. This is the climactic zone of the plot where the "friend" is motivatedly established as the "enemy" of the people who are made to believe that Dr. Gupta is basphemous. The exchange of dialogues between Dr. Gupta and Nisit may be quotted to show how a good man turns bad because of wrong conviction imposed on all and sundry.
Nisit : Have you ever been to the temple ?
Dr. Gupta: No, I haven't. Because I don't feel the necessity to go there.
Nisit: Have you any idea how many drink the holy water every day?
Dr. Gupta: I don't have a definite idea but I should imagine about seven or eight thousand.
Nisit :How many patients have you had so far ?
Dr. Gupta : I am not the only doctor, but I myself have received 200, 250 patients.
At this point, of course, the meeting swings against Dr. Gupta before he has a chance to try to explain the concept of immunity.
But, the film ends with an optimistic note as from the background there comes a slogan crying up "Long live Dr, Asok Gupta".
Soumitra Chatterjee has always at his best with Ray. This too proves his brilliant worth. Mamata Sankar as his daughter is superb in expressing her reactions to the helplessness of her father. Ruma Guha Thakurta, as his wife has done justice to her role. Dhritiman Chatterjee as Nisit deserves special compliments. The art of dialogue throwing and crookedness as physionomised make him look a real villain.