Mahanagar (The Big City) (The Great City) (1967)



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Movie Info

Satyajit Ray, India's premiere film director, takes a rare foray into social satire with 1963's The Big City. Anil Chaterjee stars as the typically subjugated wife of an Indian bank official. When the banker loses his job, he orders Anil to find work to make ends meet. The wife subsequently runs the household finances so brilliantly that soon she is in the driver's seat, in direct opposition to long-established Indian matrimonial custom. Seen by some critics as a subtle plea for improving the status of Indian womanhood, The Big City was based on a novel by Narbenda Nath Mitra. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Mahanagar (The Big City) (The Great City)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

Ray's style is direct, realist and sympathetic.

Aug 13, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

There is nothing obscure or over-stylized about this characteristic work by Mr. Ray. It is another of his beautifully fashioned and emotionally balanced contemplations of change in the thinking, the customs and the manners of the Indian middle-class.

Sep 1, 2007 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

One of the most rewarding screen experiences of our time. I warmly encourage you to see it.

Aug 29, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

There are so many ways in which Ray is entitled to demand respect that I felt absolutely naughty wanting something to happen quickly.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Ray has an unmatched feeling for the moments when a situation catches people unawares, and minds perceptibly expand or contract when confronted with some infinitesimal stress.

Jul 5, 2018 | Full Review…

...a full-blown exercise in mid-century film feminism.

Mar 5, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mahanagar (The Big City) (The Great City)


[font=Century Gothic]In "Mahanagar," Subrata(Anil Chatterjee) is a bank manager but cannot afford to support his extended family which includes his aging parents(Haren Chatterjee & Sefalika Devi). His father is a former university professor who is envious of his former students' success while lacking eyeglasses which could help him win the crossword competition. Subrata is so desperate that he contradicts his conservative principles to suggest his wife, Arati(Madhabi Mukherjee), get a job, at least until he can get a second job himself...[/font] [font=Century Gothic]While "Mahanagar" is slow at times, it more than makes up for it with some classic moments, excellent character development and insights into the Indian society of the time the film was made. What writer-director Satyajit Ray is specifically interested in is pointing out that whereas once ethnicity was the ruling principle, it has now been superseded by class. For example, a woman of English descent is in the same boat as Arati, as they work together and bond over their jobs selling knitting machines to wealthy families. In a society as status obsessed as this, Subrata feels that men should be able to support their families without asking for help. But there are times when pride gives way in the face of economic realities. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

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