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.