- 1 hr 57 min
Charulata is a 1964 Indian film, written and directed by renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The film features Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhavi Mukherjee, and Shailen Mukherjee in the lead roles. It is based on the novel Nastanirh (1901) by Rabindranath Tagore. The film is set in 19th century Calcutta (now Kolkata) and revolves around Charulata (played by Madhavi Mukherjee), a lonely, bored, and neglected housewife, who longs for love, attention, and creative expression. Her husband Bhupati (played by Shailen Mukherjee) is a wealthy and progressive newspaper editor, who is engrossed in his work and political activism, and has little time or interest in his wife or their marital life.
Charulata's life changes with the arrival of Bhupati's younger cousin Amal (played by Soumitra Chatterjee), who is a carefree and charming intellectual, with a passion for poetry and literature. Amal shares Charulata's love for books and music, and he becomes her friend, mentor, and muse, inspiring her to write and express her feelings and ideas.
As Charulata and Amal spend more time together, they develop a deep emotional connection and a subtle romantic attraction, despite their social and familial constraints. They engage in intellectual debates, literary discussions, and creative collaborations, which culminate in Charulata writing a novel, with Amal's help and encouragement.
The film beautifully captures the complexities and nuances of human relationships, desires, and aspirations, through its exquisite cinematography, soulful music, and nuanced performances. Madhavi Mukherjee delivers a mesmerizing and nuanced portrayal of Charulata, capturing her emotional range, from her inner turmoil and melancholy to her moments of joy and liberation. Soumitra Chatterjee shines as Amal, bringing his signature charm, wit, and intellectual depth to the role. Shailen Mukherjee is also impressive as Bhupati, portraying his conflicting emotions and changing attitudes towards his wife and his cousin.
Satyajit Ray's direction is masterful, as always, showcasing his trademark realism, sensitivity, and empathy towards his characters and their milieu. He adapts Tagore's novel with great fidelity, while also adding his own distinct creative vision and narrative style. His direction of actors, use of close-ups, and attention to details add a rich texture and emotional depth to the film.
Charulata is a timeless classic of Indian cinema, and one of Satyajit Ray's most celebrated and acclaimed films. It won several awards, including the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 14th Berlin International Film Festival. It is a poignant and moving portrait of a woman's quest for self-expression, and a meditation on the beauty and complexity of human relationships, that transcends time and culture, and speaks to the universal human experience of love, longing, and loss.
Charulata is a 1964 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 57 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1.