Watch Mahanagar

  • NR
  • 1967
  • 2 hr 11 min
  • 8.3  (4,851)

Mahanagar is a 1963 Indian Bengali film directed by Satyajit Ray, who is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. The movie is based on a short story by Narendranath Mitra, and it stars Anil Chatterjee, Madhavi Mukherjee and Jaya Bachchan in lead roles. The film revolves around a middle-class family living in Kolkata, struggling to make ends meet, and how the wife's entry into the workforce changes their lives.

The film takes us back to the 1950s and provides us with an insightful look into the socio-economic condition of Kolkata during that time. We are introduced to a middle-class family consisting of Subrata Mazumdar (played by Anil Chatterjee), his wife Arati (played by Madhavi Mukherjee), their young son and Subrata's parents. The family's financial situation is precarious, and they face a tough time paying their bills and providing for their son's education.

Arati decides to take up a job as a door-to-door saleswoman in order to support her family. At first, her husband is hesitant to let her work, but circumstances force him to agree. Arati's new job requires her to travel to different parts of the city, something that is not considered appropriate for a woman at that time. However, Arati is determined to succeed and provide for her family.

As Arati's income increases, she gains confidence and a sense of independence. She makes new friends at work, including a young woman named Edith (played by Jaya Bachchan in her debut role), who introduces her to modern ideas and fashion. However, Arati's newfound success and independence do not go down well with certain members of her family, including her husband and father-in-law, who think that she's shirking her duties as a wife and mother.

The movie is a powerful commentary on the role of women in society, something that Ray addressed in many of his movies. He provides a nuanced portrayal of Arati's character, who is torn between her traditional duties as a wife and mother, and her desire for self-fulfillment and independence. The movie shows the difficulties that women face in balancing their work and family lives, and how society's expectations often constrain their actions.

Apart from its social commentary, Mahanagar also features excellent performances by its cast. Anil Chatterjee is superb as the indecisive and unsure Subrata, while Madhavi Mukherjee delivers a powerful portrayal of Arati. Jaya Bachchan is impressive in her debut role, displaying a natural ease in front of the camera.

The movie is also notable for its technical aspects. The cinematography by Subrata Mitra is some of the best you'll see in Indian cinema. The use of light and shadow to create mood and atmosphere is masterfully done. The soundtrack of the movie, composed by Ray himself, is equally impressive, featuring haunting melodies that perfectly capture the mood of the movie.

In conclusion, Mahanagar is a must-see movie for anyone interested in Indian cinema, or social commentary in general. Satyajit Ray was a consummate filmmaker, and Mahanagar is one of his finest works, a moving and powerful portrayal of the struggles of an Indian middle-class family in the 1950s, and a deep and thought-provoking commentary on gender roles and societal expectations.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 11 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (4,851)