Charulata (U)

Film

Romance

Charulata

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Aug 19

Indian master director Satyajit Ray once described 1964’s ‘Charulata’ as his favourite of his own films, and it’s easy to see why. This is a work of extraordinary grace, poise and intelligence whose closest parallel is probably ‘Brief Encounter’ – another film whose surface may be still, but under which an emotional undercurrent rages. In 1870s Calcutta, Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee), the frustrated wife of a wealthy newspaper editor (Soumitra Chatterjee), attempts to balance her own literary ambitions with her marital duties, an internal conflict that intensifies when her fun-loving cousin-in-law comes to visit. Shot almost entirely within a single location – a stately English-style house – the film feels caged and claustrophobic, with close-ups so intimate that you can almost feel the characters breathing. But that only makes the fleeting moments of liberation – Charu on a garden swing, scuffing her feet in the dust; the moment when literary inspiration strikes and she’s cast adrift into a world of sparkling memories – all the more vivid. This might be a perfect film.

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Release details

Rated:

U

UK release:

Fri Aug 22, 2014

Duration:

114 mins

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Average User Rating

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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