wiki:Aranyer Din Ratri

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Aranyer Din Ratri

aka Days and Nights in the Forest 1969 115’ b&w Bengali d/sc/m Satyajit Ray p Nepal Dutta, Ashim Dutta pc Priya Films st Sunil Ganguly’s novel c Soumendu Roy, Purnendu Bose lp Soumitra Chatterjee, Subhendu Chatterjee, Samit Bhanja, Robi Ghosh, Pahadi Sanyal, Sharmila Tagore, Kaberi Bose, Simi Garewal, Aparna Sen

Four young male Bengali urban stereotypes leave Calcutta for a holiday in the forest of Palamau, Bihar: the suave executive and former political activist Ashim (Soumitra Chatterjee), the middle-class Sanjoy (Subhendu Chatterjee), the sportsman Hari (Bhanja) and the insecure comedian Sekhar (Ghosh). They bribe a caretaker and hire a government bungalow in the forest where they meet the sophisticated Aparna (Tagore) and her widowed sister-in-law, Jaya (Bose). Completing the ensemble is the sexy Santhal tribal Duli (Garewal). The film moves in a series of episodes as Ashim falls for Aparna and then has some embarassing encounters which shake his patriarchal attitudes. The climactic sequence takes place at a village fair as the group splits up into couples: Hari seduces the tribal woman, Sanjoy is unable to accept Jaya’s overtures, Aparna’s tragic autobiography causes Ashim to replay some of the anxieties of his predecessors in previous Chatterjee roles in Ray’s films (cf. Charulata, 1964; Kapurush, 1965). The many references to Bengali literature, colonial history and recent political events provide the viewer with an array of clues to some pervasive but unspoken off- screen enigma which has taken the place of the ‘crime’ which usually powers this type of plot. This use of a suggested trauma, indirectly shaping the lives of the characters as they try not to deal with it, was taken up by other Bengali New Indian Cinema directors(cf. B. Dasgupta’s work) to deal with middle- class ambivalence and guilt in the face of the political events of the 70s (cf. Naxalite). It also informed Ray’s own Calcutta trilogy, begun shortly after this film.