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MIDDLEMAN

India, 1975 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Satyajit Ray

Somnath is a bright student, but he only gets an ordinary pass in his BA exams. His indifferent results make it difficult for him to get a job. Frustrated by inconclusive interviews, he comes across an elderly friend, Bishuda, who suggests he try his hand at business. Somnath starts off in the brokerage business and is intro¬duced to an accountant who helps him obtain his first commission. He discovers there is a delay in payment of the commission and that the businessman expects something on the side. Somnath has to supply what he is asked for or risk losing the commission.

The film's director, Satyajit Ray, has given this description of Somnath's dilemma: "When he fails to get a job, he goes into business as a middle-man and ends up by supplying call-girls to his clients. You could call it a sequel to Company Limited, but it reflects another aspect of the social scene - 'the same sort of corruption perhaps, but seen in a much stronger light - and brings in other elements like the effect of the generation gap. It's a kind of black comedy - and pretty outspoken'.

'Ray makes his Indian films with no knowing side-glances towards other cultures in a furtive bid for understanding; that is why they are so immediately accessible to us through their potent humanity.'

Derek Prowse, Sunday Times

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