Cloud-capped Star

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The Bengali writer/director Ritwik Ghatak has been acclaimed as the most important Indian film-maker after Satyajit Ray. The first part of a trilogy that included E Flat and Subarnarekha, this is a dark melodrama, set in Calcutta in the late '50s, in which Nita (Choudhury) struggles to keep her refugee family afloat and together. Her father, a teacher, earns a pittance; her elder brother dreams of becoming a famous singer; a younger brother is forced to abandon his studies and work in a factory; and her mother hopes that Sanat, the young scientist her eldest daughter loves, will transfer his affections to the younger Guita. For Western viewers it's perhaps most easily approached as a bitter critique of harsh social and economic conditions, particularly those arising from the 1947 Partition of East Bengal. More interesting cinematically, however, is Ghatak's inventive, not quite naturalistic treatment of the story: in order to underline or undercut certain elements in terms of narrative, theme and characterisation, the performances, images, music and, most especially, sound are given almost expressionist nuances.

By: GA

Release details

Duration: 127 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ritwik Ghatak
Screenwriter: Ritwik Ghatak
Cast: Supriya Choudhury
Anil Chatterjee
Bijon Bhattacharya
Guita De
Gita Ghatak
Dwiju Bhawal
Niranjan Roy

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Critics often say that Satyajit Ray is the greatest director in India of all times, and was no doubt. But in the shadows of Ray, there is a figure that was extremely underestimated. Ray Ghatak is comparable to and sometimes greater, much more poetic, lyrical and free. The cloud-capped star is a perfect blend of everything: religion, faith, love, intellect, culture, pain, suffering, life and sacrifice ... is a tour de force and a masterpiece unique and unsurpassed in the work he wanted to achieve a fusion of body, morale, spirit and life. Anyway, it's a masterful film that is unfortunately overlooked by many. But always be remembered by me, and is among my favorites. I simply love Meghe Dhaka Tara!