The theme of the movie is: How low can you fall to climb up the greasy pole? A masterpiece by Satyajit Ray. Based on a novel by Shankar, the movie actually reads better than a novel itself. Every character has been exquisitely carved. It is as if you are reading a Somerset Maugham novel. None of them are black or white. They are just characters. Everything regarding them and their surroundings are given in detail. Rest is left to the audience. If you feel the character is evil, you are welcome. If not.... .
The story evolves around a young and ambitious professional, Shyamalendu. He started off as a teacher, got a job in an MNC in 60's Calcutta. Hasn't looked back since then. He is now one of the General Managers. Aspiring to be a director. His son is in a hostel in Darjeeling studying in a prestigious institute. Extremely hard working, he has got to the present position through his merit and determination. And he is not ready to let go of all this. Under any circumstance whatsoever.
His wife is a simple homamaker. Doesnt understand anything of office politics. And doesnt break her head over issues concerning her husbands official matters. She has followed her husband through all his successes and has made them her own. Goes to the races, plays cards with other wives, gives grand parties.
His sister-in-law, Tutul, played beautifully by Sharmila Tagore, is a charming young lady, not used to the profane world of her brother-in-law. She comes down to visit her sister's family for some time. She is much more imaginative and can see through the muck that her brother-in-law has to wade through in his daily life.
The company in which Shyamalendu works gets a huge consignment for ceiling fans from Iraq. The person on whom the whole responsibilty lies is Shyamalendu himself. Everything is ready when just one week before the deadline a major fault is found with the fans. Production has to be stopped. What does he do now? Well as I said, he is not leaving just as yet. He rakes in a long time manager who has some hold over the workers. Causes major problems in the factory. The factory has to shutdown for two weeks. Just enough time to rectify the fault with the fans. The operation is successful, Shyamalendu is rewarded with a posting as additional director.
The beauty of the movie is in its nuances. Shyamalendu's parents are in Calcutta. He has bought a house for them. However, the detail to look for is the fact that he doesnt stay with them. His parents come to visit him during one of his parties. The discomfort is evident in the behavior of both husband and wife. On the other hand, Tutul is quite comfortable with them.
The kaleidoscope of characters and their emotions in this movie is a thing to watch out for.It just gives gives you another insight into the genius that was Satyajit Ray.
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