Thursday 1 January 2009

Ek Din Pratidin (And Quiet Rolls the Dawn) [1979]

Staunch Marxist, principal provocateur and one of Satyajit Ray’s greatest contemporaries, Mrinal Sen is famous for his political and ‘angry’ movies. But he was also equally capable of making films which were less aggressive and more eloquent; case in point – Ek Din Pratidin. Its storyline is quite simple – the sole breadwinner of a lower middle-class family, who happens to be the eldest daughter of the family, fails to return one night, only to turn up when least expected. Through this movie Sen has taken an incisive look on the parochial middle-class psyche, the fragile clash between conservative sentiments and modernization, and the question of female emancipation. When she fails to return, the family is afraid and concerned. But when she finally does returns, things turn even more harrowing – conjectures, snide remarks and silent rebukes make her return a matter of greater disturbance, albeit understated, than the more obvious one that arose during her absence. Exquisite acting and terrific sketches of the nuances of various characters’ thinking processes have suffused the movie with realism and subtle observation, while making it devoid of melodrama. That the whereabouts of the young lady, played by Mamata Shankar, has been left open to interpretation, made the movie that much more poignant. In fact Sen himself once stated, "I myself didn’t know what had happened to her that night.”

Director: Mrinal Sen
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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