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NAYAK

India, 1966 (MIFF 1967, Programme 30)

Director: Satyajit Ray

The Hero is one of Satyajit Ray's modern stories, concerned with the life and thoughts of an Indian film star as he travels by train to collect a prize in Delhi. Through dreams and flashbacks, he tells his story to a woman journalist whom he meets on the train; he is ambitious, loves and fears money, and has had to fight his way to the top, where he finds it very lonely.

The actor's life story is interspersed with many well observed cameos of the situations and people encountered during the journey; the figures of the rich industrialist, the toothless journalist and the infection-obsessed sectarian are memorable.

In this simple and leisurely story, Uttam Kumar plays the star, blending a touch of arrogance with a suggestion of humility. Sharmila Tagore exudes charm and humour in the role of the journalist with a conscience, who finally tears up the notes of her interview with this idolised hero of the masses, as she feels it would be unethical to spill the story and destroy his image.

Unicrit Award, Berlin Festival.

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