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Review of

Jana Aranya  (1976 - Bengali)

Jana Aranya movie review, and Jana Aranya critics rating, comments on Jana Aranya

Jana Aranya cumulative rating: 3.5 out of 53.5/5 (3 users)

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  • Jana Aranya rating: 7 out of 10(Dipen Guha wrote on 15 Sep 2009)

    In 1975 Satyajit Roy returns to urban scene with his film "Jana Aranya". Somnath ( newcomer Pradip Mukherjee) lives with his elder brother and his wife and his retired father. His wxamination results come out; he has passed, but without the honours ehich he was certain to win. There has been obvious neglegence on the part of the examinars, and his father ( Satya Banerjee) fumes in protest, Somnath's elder brother (Dipankar Dey), as always, mocks these old-world expectations of rectitude. There is nothing to be gained by protest; things are as they are and the sooner one accepts them and gets on with whatever can be done in self-interest. the better. Somnath, applying for job after job, soon gets converted to this philosophy. His despondency and cynicism are helped by his girl-friend's marriage within her higher social strata, for she can no longer resist the pressure of her family and wait for SWomnath to get established in life. He meets an old acquaintance (Utpal Dutt) who is in business, and willing to help the young man to do something on his own. He becomes a middleman, buying from one and selling to another, and has some success on a small scale. The crunch comes when a bigger deal, which would really launch him on a career, requires the provision of a shapely female for a sex-obsessed client. Somnath faces the choice of either yielding to his moral revulsion or losing his career. Egged on by a "public-relation-agent" who is experienced in such manoeuvres, Somnath chooses the latter. At the last moment he finds that the girl he is offering to the client is his erstwhile best friend's sister. She does not shy away from the situation; her resolves firms up. As he he goes back home and announces he has got the contract, his father remarks that hard work is still rewarded. Only his sister-in-law (Lily Chakroverty), self-effacing mother to the three men, knows that he has paid some unknown but enormous price for that success.
    Somnath is almost a re-incarnation of Siddhatha of " Pratidwandi". The very first page of Shankar's novel of the same name has the protagonist in the middle of a traffic mess in Kolkata made up of the wild movements of slow and fast traffic and a mess of humanity trying to make a progress that seems impossible to achieve. As Somnath, participant and observer, looks on, he thinks of the city as prehistoric, sick dinosaur driven out of his safe habitat and groaning, caught in the vast web of Kolkata.`
    Ibviously, Somnath has slid a much longer way down the moral path than Siddhartha of "Pratidwandi", the literary original of which had been written by another writer, Sunil Gangopadhaya. But in the two films Ray saw a process of further decline of his archytypal character. " Jana Atanya" epitomises not only the mood of the seventies, but the the failure of earlier values.

    About the Author:

    Dipen Guha

    Location: Kolkata, India

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