Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Subarnarekha (The Golden Thread) 
Ritwik Ghatak was forever haunted by memories of Bengal’s Partition during the country’s independence, which resulted in massive uprooting of people belonging to either side of the border (Ghatak was born in the erstwhile East Bengal). The impact of this event led him to compose what has now come to be known as the ‘Partition Trilogy’ comprising of three of his greatest masterpieces. Subarnarekha, made in 1962 but not released until 1965, and the final chapter of the trilogy, was an immensely tragic and deeply humanistic tale which portrayed man’s eternal quest for happiness and contentedness despite their inherently ephemeral nature. The movie’s three protagonists are – Iswar (Abhi Bhattacharya), who leaves his colony in Calcutta, and idealism, in order to pursue a secure well-paying job; his kid sister Sita (Madhabi Mukherjee played the adult version) who, despite Iswar’s hot-headedness and possessive nature, develops a mind of her own; and, Abhiram, who was taken into the family as a kid and who eventually goes on to marry Sita despite Iswar’s opposition. The name of the movie was derived from that of the river beside which the three relocated to upon shifting out of the city. Though some might find the film a tad too melodramatic, there’s no denying the power of its emotional impact – further accentuated through superb use of hauntingly beautiful Indian classical compositions. Interestingly, there’s a Felliniesque sequence that, through its surreal and carnivalesque nature, doesn’t just act as a pattern-breaker, but also forms the precursor to a debilitating tragedy. The film’s poignant finale might remind one of the final scene in Ray’s Apur Sansar.
p.s. A more recent review of this film can be found here.
Director: Ritwik Ghatak
Genre: Drama/Social Drama/Family Drama