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aka The Expedition 1962 150’ b&w Bengali d/sc/m Satyajit Ray pc Abhijatrik st Tarashankar Bannerjee’s novel c Soumendu Roy lp Soumitra Chatterjee, Waheeda Rehman, Ruma Guha-Thakurta, Gyanesh Mukherjee, Charuprakash Ghosh, Robi Ghosh, Arun Roy, Sekhar Chatterjee, Ajit Bannerjee, Reba Devi, Abani Mukherjee

Taking over from some friends who lost confidence after one day’s shooting, Ray made his first Christian melodrama (see e.g. the boulders standing in for accumulated sin), set in Northern Bihar. Hero Narsingh (So. Chatterjee), a taxi driver who loses his licence, gets involved in drug smuggling and with two women, the missionary teacher Mary Nilima (Guha-Thakurta) and the prostitute Gulabi (Rehman’s only appearance in a Ray movie). Conflicts of class with feudal Rajput honour inform the story about the villain Sukhanram (C. Ghosh) who is redeemed by the good Joseph (G. Mukherjee), Mary’s brother. The urbane and upper-class Soumitra Chatterjee is cast against type as the rough, bearded Rajasthani driver.