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1948 155’ b&w Hindi d/s Mahesh Kaul pc Shanti Lokchitra lyr poems by the saint-poets Surdas and Meerabai, Ram Murthy c Chandu m Ninu Majumdar lp Raj Kapoor, Tripti Mitra, Latika, Nand Kishore, Sachin Ghosh, Randhir, Anwaribai, Feroze, Mahesh Kaul, Baby Zubeida, Niranjan Tiwari

Tragic tale of Gopi (Mitra), a village woman virtually abandoned by her brother in the home of Mohan (Kapoor) and his ageing mother. The lower-caste Gopi secretly loves Mohan but he pines for the movie star Neela Devi. Eventually the frustrated Gopi goes mad just when Mohan, fed up with his star’s whims, returns to Gopi. The film belongs to the Bengali tradition of literary melodramas, an association enhanced by Tripti Mitra’s remarkable performance. In shifting the tragedy from a Devdas-type male anxiety to the woman’s condition, the film chronicles the behavioural and moral restrictions besetting a woman caught in a ‘traditional’ environment. Mitra’s performative idiom rises above the story’s vindication of tradition as superior to the liberated but hollow freedoms of the film star.