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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...

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 »

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 »

PATHER PANCHALI

The Apu Trilogy, India's most important contribution to world cinema so far, is based on the Bengali novel by Bibhuti Bhusan Bannerji. The book contains a great deal of autobiographical material and ... More »

THE CHESS PLAYERS

This is Satyajit Ray's first film with Hindi and English dialogue. It is also his first historical film, set in mid-nineteenth century India. It is based on a short story by Munshi Premchand. ... Two ... More »

CHARULATA

Charulata is based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore. The setting is Calcutta in 1880, where the upper-class Bengali milieu, though strongly rooted in tradition, is nourished by English liberal ... More »

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