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THE MUSIC ROOM

India, 1958 (MIFF 1968, Programme 41)

Director: Satyajit Ray

This film was made between the second and third parts of the Apu trilogy. Where the trilogy shows the gradual breaking up of the simple traditional family life and religion, and their replacement by a more vigorous way of life, Jalsaghar gives a picture of the complete breakdown and final decay overtaking a refined and cultured aristocratic family. The central figure is a once-wealthy landowner whose main interest in life, after the deaths of his wife and son, lies in the performances of music and dancing of the greatest refinement, given in the music room in his decaying mansion. These performances mark progressive stages in the landowner's ruin, as his money-lender neighbour steadily takes over the property. A final superlative performance takes the last of the remaining money, and he leaves his home on his horse to meet his death.

By Western standards, the tempo of the film is slow, and its mood is nostalgic. As do all Indian films, it contains a great deal of music, but in Jalsaghar this traditional ubiquity of music forms an integral part of the story, and is an expressivs contribution to the unfolding of the drama. For these reasons perhaps, the film is regarded as more purely Indian in character by the critics in India, than is the Apu trilogy.

See also...

JALSAGHAR

Jalsaghar is one of the few films made by Salyafit Ray. apart from the great Bengali trilogy about the life of the boy Apu. It leisurely and patientty unfolds Ihe story of the decline of the last ... More »

WORLD OF APU

The third part of the Bengali saga continues the story of Apu, now a young man living in Calcutta and dreaming of a literary career and a positive future. An old friend invites him to a village ... More »

WORLD OF APU

So much has already been written about Pather Panchali and Aparajito that Ray's trilogy was destined for classic status even before the release of the third instalment, and the various influences ... More »

THE ADVENTURES OF GOOPY AND BAGHA

Goopy is a singer who cannot sing and he meets Bagha, a drummer, after they have both been driven from their respective villages. They sing and play to disperse their fears during ... a night in the ... More »

DISTANT THUNDER

This is Satyajit Ray's second film in colour, and the Grand Prize winner at the Berlin Festival. The film is set in 1942, and its subject is the impact of war on an isolated Bengali village. ... The ... More »

THE HOME AND THE WORLD

In 1905, in keeping with the 'Divide and Rule' policy of India's British overlords, Lord Curzon (the British Viceroy) proposes splitting Bengal into two separate administrative units, intended to ... More »

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