Watch The Big City
- 2 hr 2 min
The Big City (1963) is a black and white drama film from India, directed by the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The movie originally known as 'Mahanagar,' showcases the struggle of a traditional Indian family in the face of modernization in Calcutta in the 1950s. The storyline revolves around a typical middle-class Bengali family of five members consisting of father Subrata Mazumder (Anil Chatterjee), wife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee), and their daughter who lives with their joint family in a small apartment in Calcutta.
Subrata, who works as a bank clerk, is the only breadwinner for the family. He is a conservative person and believes that the man of the house should be the main earner. Arati, on the other hand, is a homemaker who remains confined to household chores. She yearns to earn money and contributes to the family's finances.
The story picks up when Subrata makes an agreement with his family that they will have to manage on a tight budget. Arati steps out of her comfort zone and gets a job as a door-to-door saleswoman of the newly-launched Rose Beauty Products in Calcutta. Her job as a saleswoman earns her a salary of Rs 200 per month. However, this step taken by Arati leads to some tumultuous moments at home as it undermines the traditional patriarchal values of the family.
The movie beautifully depicts the transformation of a timid homemaker into an assertive and confident lady who takes control of her professional and personal life. Arati faces multiple obstacles while working as a saleswoman. Still, she overcomes them with her charm and wit, especially when faced with the challenge of selling products to the affluent upper class of Calcutta's society.
Apart from Arati, the movie also highlights the struggles of women in general in getting equal opportunities in the workplace. Arati's friend Edith is in a similar position where she has to conceal her marriage and her child to keep her job. The instances like these develop empathy among the audiences for the challenges that women face in a patriarchal society.
The movie's soulful soundtrack by Satyajit Ray himself adds to the overall cinematic experience. The music complements the mood of the film and serves as a catalyst for the film's climax.
Anil Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukherjee, who played the roles of Subrata and Arati, respectively, deliver fantastic performances that stay with the viewers. Jaya Bachchan, in her debut film, perfectly portrays the role of an innocent and shy housewife, who develops a nuanced understanding of emotions through her relationship with Arati.
The Big City tackles themes like modernization, patriarchy, and class differences that are relevant even today. The movie stands out as a bold statement against societal norms of gender roles and expectations from an Indian housewife. Ray's film shows the inner journey of a woman who defies social norms to find her place in society.
In conclusion, The Big City is a masterpiece of Indian cinema and a classic that everyone should watch. It is a story of empowerment and liberation that will leave you inspired and hopeful. The Big City is a moving cinematic experience that highlights the struggles of a woman trying to earn financial independence and respect in society. With its memorable performances, powerful storyline, and soulful music, The Big City is a must-watch for all movie lovers.
The Big City is a 1963 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 2 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.3.