For his first feature film in colour, Bengali auteur Satyajit Ray chose the quaint and idyllic town of Darjeeling as the backdrop for the story. Members of a wealthy and educated Bengali family are on vacation at the beautiful Himalayan hill station. However, in contrast to the picturesque locales (exquisitely shot by Subrata Mitra), unspoken ideological schisms between the rich family patriarch (commandingly played by Chabi Biswas) and members of the younger generation, latent familial problems otherwise hidden from the eyes of the society, and the age-old struggle between ‘marriage of convenience’ and ‘marriage of choice’, play out against the changing faces of nature over the course of one day. Languorously paced, the movie might appear slow to some. However, it might have been deliberately so paced by Ray to gradually reveal the conflicts between the various characters, and juxtapose that with the decidedly ironic interplay between sunshine and mist that, in many ways, manage to define the mood of the story. The movie ends with a glorious view of Kanchenjungha, and the various problems too seem to have been resolved for the moment, but it is anybody’s guess as to what awaits them when they return to the daily of humdrums of Calcutta.
Director: Satyajit Ray Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Ensemble Film Language: Bengali Country: India