Wednesday 23 February 2011

Ghare Baire (Home and the World) [1984]

Ghare Baire belongs to that phase of Satyajit Ray’s life when his health was fast deteriorating and his movies began to be clubbed by the moniker “Lesser Ray”. Yet this movie is proof enough that even a “lesser Ray” was better than the best works of most filmmakers. One of the fellow bloggers, in his exceptional review of this film, compared Ghare Baire with Charulata, the movie Ray qualified as his personal favourite, and I completely agree to the points made. Adapted from a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, a ‘Renaissance Man’ with few equals, the story is based with the political turmoil surrounding the partition of Bengal (the then-hotbed of independence struggle) in British-ruled India forming the vital backdrop. And, in a state of fierce upheaval as this, brews a psychologically complex love triangle between Nikhil (Victor Bannerjee), a rich and mild-mannered landlord with mindset way ahead of his times, Bimala (Swatilekha Sengupta), his bold and liberated wife, and Sandip (Soumitra Chatterjee), a staunch nationalist, firebrand speaker, and Nikhil’s childhood friend. The film, that was supposed to have been Ray’s debut feature, boasted of a trio of memorable performances, with Soumitra Chatterjee absolutely outstanding as always as the enigmatic and morally ambiguous Sandip. Ray also made great use of Kishore Kumar’s voice in this otherwise verbose and volatile film.

Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance/Political Drama/Historical Drama
Language: Bengali
Country: India


Sam Juliano said...

"Yet this movie is proof enough that even a “lesser Ray” was better than the best works of most filmmakers."

Indeed Shubhajit. Chatterjee is a wonderful actor, and the subject of this film is fascinating. Certainly Ray is on the money with CHARULATA, though I'd say three or four others are as great. Your reference to the other blogger yielded an excellent review, which is precisely what your capsule is too.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Sam. Yeah, Soumitra Chatterjee remains one of the great actors in Indian cinema. You're right, there are quite a few films which would rank higher than this in Ray's pantheon, and Charulata does remain one of his best films.