wiki:Baishey Shravan

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Baishey Shravan

aka The Wedding Day 1960 110’(98’) b&w Bengali d/s Mrinal Sen pc Kallol Films st Kanai Basu c Sailaja Chatterjee m Hemanta Mukherjee lp Gyanesh Mukherjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Hemangini Devi, Umanath Bhattacharya, Sumita Dasgupta, Anup Kumar

Set in a Bengal village just before and during the catastrophic famine of 1943 when some 5 million people died of starvation. A middle- aged hawker (G. Mukherjee) marries a beautiful 16-year-old girl (M. Mukherjee) who initially brightens his life. Then the man’s mother (H. Devi) dies, WW2 presses upon them and the famine hits Bengal as the couple’s marriage and the entire fabric of life disintegrates. In the end, the wife hangs herself. It is a deliberately cruel film about cruel living conditions, with the stark realism heightened through several melodramatic techniques. The mother dies when the roof falls on her head in a violent storm; the marriage breaks up when Priyanath greedily eats up the little rice he can find in the midst of the famine, without leaving any for his wife. The real innovation is that the third party destroying the marriage is not a person but the impact upon the couple of, in Sen’s words, ‘the men who, as they served colonial bosses in their war efforts, cared only for profiteering and black marketing’.