Against a background of neo-imperialist India, and set in Calcutta, a city of severe unemployment and unrest, Ray creates a finely judged satire about the gradual compromise that is the price of ambition. His complacent, but not unlikeable, central character works as a sales manager and possesses sufficient ambition to override any doubts about accepting the privileges remaining from colonial days and the rewards of Westernised industry. But two things undermine his smugness: his provincial but astute sister-in-law pays a visit; and a crisis in the export department forces him to resort to political manipulation in order to further his career. Both events leave him a wiser but lesser man. It's basically an old-fashioned film, but none the worse for that.
Cast and crew