Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Agantuk (The Stranger) 
The final movie of Satyajit Ray, a giant in Indian, as well as, world cinema, Agantuk beautifully portrayed the distrust and paranoia that have become parts of urban social fabric and milieu. The movie, adapted from a short story from Ray himself, is about the unexpected arrival of a long-lost uncle (Utpal Dutt), who had left home at a young age in order to lead the life of a wanderlust, into the lives of an upper middle-class Bengali family (played by Dipankar Dey and Mamata Shankar). The repercussions of his return, after 35 years of complete absence, makes the family traverse the complete cycle of distrust, dilemma, redemption and contentment. The swansong of the master auteur also ironically tells us, that howsoever much might we know the genius (Ray, or for that matter, any artiste), the man behind the social veneer would always remain a stranger to us all. The movie was also a swansong for the veteran thespian and one of the most versatile actors ever to face a camera in India, Utpal Dutt, who played the eponymous role of the stranger. The evolving character dynamics between the three principal protagonists as also the couple’s young son and their inquisitive friends (both Rabi Ghosh and Dhritiman Chatterjee provided interesting cameos), have been exceptionally well covered – with subtlety as also with conviction, in this gently paced and wonderfully enacted movie. The movie – in equal portions an affecting drama and a light comedy – also provided a number of probing questions on what constitutes a civilization and what it means to be a part of the human race – covered through a number of powerful dialogues.
Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama/Social Satire