Charulata

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out says

A wonderfully Jamesian study of Victorian India in which a neglected wife, on the point of breaking through to self-awareness, begins to perceive male dominion as a hollow façade of beards, braces and boredom. Immensely funny (with the dialogue peppered by solemn anglicisms and toasts to Gladstone and the Liberals), but also elegant and gracefully moving as the heroine flirts with romance and domestic tragedy on her way to becoming the New Woman. Certainly one of Ray's best films, with a superb music score of his own composition.

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Release details

UK release:

1964

Duration:

124 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Satyajit Ray

Cast:

Shyamal Ghoshal, Sailen Mukherjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Geetali Roy

Music:

Satyajit Ray

Art Director:

Bansi Chandragupta

Editor:

Dulal Dutta

Cinematography:

Subrata Mitra

Screenwriter:

Satyajit Ray

Producer:

RD Bansal

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usman khawaja

ray's most personal movie describes the unadulterated love and longing of an intelligent woman for her younger brother-in-law ,while the husband is pursuing his intellectual hobby of running a radical english newspaper in calcutta ,charaluta is left to confide her creative passions with her artistic and poetic brothrer-in-law ,it is diificult to define where this crosses the line from admiration to love but the emotion evolves naturally to blossom into something more than matronly affiliation ,whether there is an element of lust is left for the audience to decide with small trivial domestic details,but the relationship is a satire on the security of the indian marriage where any such thought much less act can become a blasphemy , charu is adored by her husband who is one of the most respectable aristocrats in the higher social echelons in colonial calcutta,their political discussions are just as enthusiastic as their exploration of piano and music ,this is a private sacred world and when a virtuous woman finds herself heeding thoughts which are ambivalent to her breeding ,she spurns herself and almost becomes a stranger to herself , the internal strife is beautifully depicted through other characters surrounding her ,the domestic chores and her observaviotions of the street life from her balcony, the edwardian decor of the town house and the cloistered garden are the backdrop to this shy and mellow drama,it is too quaint to call it a romance and it is too bold in it's conclusion to be labelled as anything but a ground-breaking drama . it finally is a profoundly poetic look at the attitudes to matrimony and the development of a relation between a man and woman ,ray is neither preacing nor sermonising ,he observes a slice of a domestic event and very naturally translates it upon the screen, the performances by soumitra hatterjee as the young man who escapes from the house to get away from his feelings and mahdabi as charulata are poetically realised against a desperate passion ,which is all consuming but still very potent ,the scene stealer is the husband who walks away with all the plaudits in the shocking yet liberating finale . the trivia here are more important then the most crucial details and the culture is explored with a sensitivity yet sophistication which makes this one of the greatest comments on human relationships in cinema ,that the fragility of this exquisite piece is streamlined to the very end in a perfect balance is to the credit of a ray of genius called saryajit ray. usman khawaja

usman khawaja

ray's most personal movie describes the unadulterated love and longing of an intelligent woman for her younger brother-in-law ,while the husband is pursuing his intellectual hobby of running a radical english newspaper in calcutta ,charaluta is left to confide her creative passions with her artistic and poetic brothrer-in-law ,it is diificult to define where this crosses the line from admiration to love but the emotion evolves naturally to blossom into something more than matronly affiliation ,whether there is an element of lust is left for the audience to decide with small trivial domestic details,but the relationship is a satire on the security of the indian marriage where any such thought much less act can become a blasphemy , charu is adored by her husband who is one of the most respectable aristocrats in the higher social echelons in colonial calcutta,their political discussions are just as enthusiastic as their exploration of piano and music ,this is a private sacred world and when a virtuous woman finds herself heeding thoughts which are ambivalent to her breeding ,she spurns herself and almost becomes a stranger to herself , the internal strife is beautifully depicted through other characters surrounding her ,the domestic chores and her observaviotions of the street life from her balcony, the edwardian decor of the town house and the cloistered garden are the backdrop to this shy and mellow drama,it is too quaint to call it a romance and it is too bold in it's conclusion to be labelled as anything but a ground-breaking drama . it finally is a profoundly poetic look at the attitudes to matrimony and the development of a relation between a man and woman ,ray is neither preacing nor sermonising ,he observes a slice of a domestic event and very naturally translates it upon the screen, the performances by soumitra hatterjee as the young man who escapes from the house to get away from his feelings and mahdabi as charulata are poetically realised against a desperate passion ,which is all consuming but still very potent ,the scene stealer is the husband who walks away with all the plaudits in the shocking yet liberating finale . the trivia here are more important then the most crucial details and the culture is explored with a sensitivity yet sophistication which makes this one of the greatest comments on human relationships in cinema ,that the fragility of this exquisite piece is streamlined to the very end in a perfect balance is to the credit of a ray of genius called saryajit ray. usman khawaja