wiki:Sagarika

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Sagarika

1956 152’ b&w Bengali d/sc Agragami pc S.C. Prod. p Sukumar Kumar st/dial/co-lyr Nitai Bhattacharya co-lyr Pranab Roy, Gouriprasanna Majumdar c Bijoy Ghosh m Robin Chattopadhyay lp Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar, Jamuna Singha, Namita Sinha, Tapati Ghosh, Kamal Mitra, Jahar Ganguly, Pahadi Sanyal, Anup Kumar, Sabita Bhattacharya, Manjushree Ghatak, Jiban Bose, Nitish Mukhopadhyay, Santosh Sinha, Salil Dutta

Classic Sen/Kumar? melodrama evoking e.g. Nitin Bose’s love tragedies with Dilip Kumar. Impoverished and orphaned medical student Arun (U. Kumar) falls in love with colleague Sagarika (Sen). Following an act of perfidy by Arun’s cousin Sipra (Sinha), who is also in love with him, Arun loses a scholarship to go to England and has to borrow money on condition that he marry Basanti (Singha) on his return. The suffering Sagarika has to look after the illiterate Basanti, which means writing Basanti’s love- letters to Arun. Arun goes blind after an accident, and on his return Sagarika nurses him back to health, pretending to be Basanti. In the end, the lead couple unite. As in the Kapoor/ Nargis love stories of the same period, this film is famous for the ecstatic, soft-focus close-ups of the lead pair and esp. of Suchitra Sen, which became classic icons in Bengali popular culture, transcending the characters and suggesting a fantasy of romance in which love can, by its own internal strength, develop an independent destiny. The monologues, esp. of Uttam Kumar as a voice on the soundtrack, contribute to the lyrical scene transitions, a style which evolved further with e.g. Ajoy Kar (cf. Saptapadi, 1961), Salil Dutta and Asit Sen generating the finest examples of popular film’s absorption of the Bengali romantic literary tradition. These films, and others such as Saat Pake Bandha (1963), are further enhanced by their contrast to the resurgence of traditional values in 80s Bengali cinema, partly through assimilating the ‘social’ contemporary Jatra, and partly as a means of keeping a distance from the influence of Hindi film.

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