wiki:Akash Kusum

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Akash Kusum

aka Up in the Clouds 1965 115’(110’) b&w Bengali d/co-sc Mrinal Sen pc Purbachal Film st/co-sc Ashish Burman c Sailaja Chatterjee m Sudhin Dasgupta lp Aparna Das Gupta (aka Aparna Sen), Soumitra Chatterjee, Subhendu Chatterjee, Haradhan Bannerjee, Sova Sen, Sati Devi, Prafullabala Devi, Gyanesh Mukherjee

After seeing Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) and Jules et Jim (1961) early in 1965, Sen felt inspired to make this bitter-sweet romance set in Calcutta. The lower-middle-class Ajay Sarkar (Soumitra Chatterjee) finds himself having to pretend to be a successful businessman in order to win the hand of Monica (Sen), the daughter of an affluent family. In the end he is exposed as a con man, his own business dealings go wrong and the romance comes to grief. Sen later said that he wanted a film that would ‘physically look youthful’, scripting in his street scenes, extensive use of still frames, voiceovers, and emphasis on unrehearsed sound effects. It sparked a major debate in the press between Burman, Sen, Satyajit Ray and others about notions of topicality, with Ray arguing that despite the ‘modish narrative devices and [s]ome lively details of city life’, and despite the film-makers’ belief ‘that they have made an angry film about struggling youth assailing the bastion of class’, the hero’s behaviour in fact ‘dates back to antiquity’ (cf. Sen, 1977). Ray later continued his tirade against what he thought was the French cinema-inspired ‘new wave’ of the 70s (cf. New Indian Cinema).