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aka The Man With The Axe 1978 100’ col Bengali d/co-sc Mrinal Sen pc West Bengal Govt. Dept. of Information co-sc Mohit Chattopadhyay st Sudhendu Mukherjee’s sociological report c Ranajit Roy m B.V. Karanth lp Arun Mukherjee, Sreela Majumdar, Bibhas Chakraborty, Jayanta Bhattacharya, Sajal Roy Choudhury, Nilanta Sengupta, Nimai Ghosh, Arijit Guha, Sumati Guha-Thakurta

Named after the mythical hero Parashuram who avenged his father’s death by raising his axe 21 times, killing the king’s men with every blow, an axe-wielding dispossessed peasant (Mukherjee) arrives in the city and finds shelter in a hovel in an abandoned cemetery together with a beggar (Bhattacharya). Parashuram is haunted by his encounter with a tiger and is prone to fantasies of heroic actions although he lives in fear of authority and petty criminals. Into the world of the destitute a young woman appears, Alhadi (Majumdar), deserted by her husband. She and Parashuram live side by side for a while but then she leaves, presumably because she feels strong enough to look for a better life. The lonely Parashuram sinks into his fantasies and ends up madly wielding his axe against the darkness overwhelming him. The film developed partly from an earlier play, Jagannath, adapting Lu Xun’s Ah Q, staged in Bengal with the film’s lead Mukherjee.