Charulata Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]In "Charulata," it is 1879 and Bhupati(Shailen Mukherjee) feels sorry for his beautiful wife, Charulata(Madhabi Mukherjee), since he is so busy publishing his newspaper that he has very little time to spend with her. Fearing that she is lonely, he summons his carefree brother, Amal(Soumitra Chatterjee), a poet who dreams of traveling to England. That is not the only reason as he also offers him a job and starts to think about possible marriages for him.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Charulata" is a resonant and understated soap opera with political overtones set in colonial India. Bhupati is an anglophile who publishes his newspaper, The Sentinel, in English, while wearing European clothing. He believes in democracy and freedom of the press in criticizing the colonial government. One presumes that he will get a very rude awakening one day when he discovers that the rule of law is not applied equally to everyone in India. So, you could see the beginnings of nationalism here in the recently united subcontinent.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2007
In-laws. Gotta watch out for 'em. They'll get ya.
October 5, 2014
Apart from the sophisticated acting and cinematography, this film carries very deep social and moral messages which are not dumped on the viewer in a preachy manner. However, Charulata has been criticised often to be slow in its pace. As a Bengali, I have watched this movie multiple times while growing up and frankly I never understood the movie. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, I used to think that there is hardly a relevance of a story set in 19th century Bengal. On the contrary, I now find the movie highly thoughtful and deeply affecting. Certainly, I get the historical context better and I am an adult with my own experiences in love and betrayal but there's something else. Charulata is by no means slow paced. Rather, its pace aptly conveys the humdrum life of the title character - a lonely wife. I am not a woman but I believe that the refined feminist references in this film would be better interpreted by a woman critic. Whether or not you are aware of the impact of Bankim Chandra's literary works on Bangla society. Charulata is the interplay of inner feelings and insecurities that creep into our lives. Charulata is that realisation that no matter what our intentions may be, our relationships are as fragile as a bird's nest and a strong wind can take it down easily. Although we may not hear the sound of a relationship breaking, we know that things will never be the same. The original story on which this movie is based was by Rabindranath Tagore and conspicuously named 'Nashta-Nirh' (Broken Nest). I think Tagore wrote the story with a slight autobiographical connotation where he identified himself as a young struggling writer Amal in the shadow of Bankim Chandra who was an established writer when Tagore was still unknown. Tagore's personal attachment towards his elder brother's wife and the very important role of his elder brother in his life also seem to echo through this story. Nonetheless the film beautifully captures the essences of Tagore's story and says more than one could possibly fathom in a single viewing.
½ February 7, 2014
I never read 'Nastanirh' by Rabindranath Tagore, so a comparison would not suit me. But as a standalone movie, Charulata's central character played majestically by Madhabi Mukherjee is brilliant. An excellent writer who channeled her impulsiveness almost effortlessly through her writing, Charu is a quintessential rich Bengali housewife of nineteenth century, beautiful and lonesome. Yet her simplicity hides most of the complexity of her character which only finds release at her impulsive gradients of outbursts. The grandeur of Tagore's original characters are perfectly portrayed by the supporting casts as well, especially the helplessness of Bhupati. Soumitra Chatterjee is great as always, and overall the movie is a must watch for movie connoisseurs.
½ January 18, 2014
This is filmmaking at its best.
January 17, 2013
In Calcutta in the last decade of the nineteenth century, a wealthy man neglects his bored housewife due to his passion for his political newspaper; as a result she draws nearer to his brother in law who encourages her to write. Ray's own brand of family drama is a wonderfully gripping one also because of his ability of building up and atmosphere filled with drama and tension. The style is poetic and sophisticated and the underlying hints at poetry and art make this much more than a pretty film to look at, but a great film experience.
½ January 3, 2013
There is seldom a foreign film, dealing with the theme of love, that does it as aptly as it did with this great masterpiece. The critics were right in describing the depth and extraordinary lengths the director went through in making this classic - not least of them the musical score, superbly composed by the great Ray himself - is commendable to say the least. In all frankness, critics, if not the audience in general, tends to placate that memorable "swing scene" as the greatest in this gemstone: particularly where, in an optical illusion that might as well put to shame the modern day "visual effects", Charu's eyes suddenly gleam, like a tigress, after peeping at (we are reminded of feminist film theory with regards to the "Gaze" with this) her cousin with her pair of lorgnettes, signifying how her romance kindles like a tigress'. But there are other scenes " " indeed, EVERY scene in this classic, as can be seen from multiple viewings, has been made meticulously, painstakingly. It is Ray's own true greatness that he once said, in his own words, that he would make Charulata the exact same way as he did this, were he given the chance to re-direct it!
½ February 26, 2011
"If you have not watched Satyajit Ray, then you have never seen the moon or the sun" -- or something like that, is what Akira Kurosawa (really?) said about this great Bengali filmmaker, my new hero and mentor :-))
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]In "Charulata," it is 1879 and Bhupati(Shailen Mukherjee) feels sorry for his beautiful wife, Charulata(Madhabi Mukherjee), since he is so busy publishing his newspaper that he has very little time to spend with her. Fearing that she is lonely, he summons his carefree brother, Amal(Soumitra Chatterjee), a poet who dreams of traveling to England. That is not the only reason as he also offers him a job and starts to think about possible marriages for him.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Charulata" is a resonant and understated soap opera with political overtones set in colonial India. Bhupati is an anglophile who publishes his newspaper, The Sentinel, in English, while wearing European clothing. He believes in democracy and freedom of the press in criticizing the colonial government. One presumes that he will get a very rude awakening one day when he discovers that the rule of law is not applied equally to everyone in India. So, you could see the beginnings of nationalism here in the recently united subcontinent.[/font]
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