The Music Room [Jalsaghar]

Watch The Music Room [Jalsaghar]

  • NR
  • 1958
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 7.9  (6,760)

The Music Room, also known as Jalsaghar in its original Bengali language, is a 1958 Indian film directed by Satyajit Ray. The film features Chhabi Biswas, Gangapada Basu and Padmadevi in lead roles. The Music Room tells the story of Huzur Biswambhar Roy, a proud aristocrat who has fallen on hard times but still holds on to his past glory. He lives in a decaying mansion in rural Bengal, clinging on to his former wealth by throwing extravagant music concerts, or jalsas, in his music room. The music room was once his pride and joy, and he spends most of his time in it, staring at his old family portraits adorning the walls.

The movie revolves around a clash between Roy's old world values and the harsh reality of the present. He refuses to accept change and the loss of his status, and invites his wealthy friends and relatives to his music room to show off his wealth and prestige. Despite his dwindling finances, he ignores the impending ruin and spends lavishly on music performances to maintain his status and display his decadent lifestyle.

As the film progresses, Roy's obsession with keeping up his façade becomes increasingly desperate, and he is unwilling to accept the reality of his situation. Though his wife and child urge him to be more practical, he continues to host extravagant parties in his music room. Roy's struggle highlights the struggle of the aristocracy in post-colonial India, who had to reconcile with their fading influence and power.

The Music Room is marked by Satyajit Ray's signature style, featuring his atmospheric depiction of Bengal's rural life and realism. The movie's classical Indian music is also a notable feature, as Roy's musical performances provide a glimpse into an exotic musical world. The Music Room is a film about struggle, both internal as well as external, and the need to keep up appearances, something that resonates in many parts of society even today.

The Music Room's cinematography, by Subrata Mitra, is a standout aspect, with his keen eye for detail and love for natural lighting transforming the movie's dour setting into a thing of beauty. The film's visuals is a noteworthy portrayal of the India's changing landscape during the time. The music, composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, is a work of genius, and Ray used it skillfully to enhance the film's moods and themes.

The Music Room is a deep and moving portrayal of a man's desperate attempts to hold on to his traditions and keep up his facade, even as he sinks deeper into poverty. Ray creates a complex world, with relatable characters that have struggled with similar dichotomies. The film reflects on the Indian society in general and the struggle to shift from a largely agrarian based economy to an industrial one, and Ray's skillful direction paints a portrait of a country in flux.

The Music Room was a critical as well as commercial success, both in India and abroad. It was a Venice Film Festival winner, and remains an important film in Indian cinema even today. Overall, The Music Room remains an important film which holds a mirror to the society, transcending national barriers or period-specific customs, and is timeless.

The Music Room [Jalsaghar]
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
    Bengali, Bangla
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (6,760)