|THE COWARD (KAPURUSH) (director/writer: Satyajit Ray; screenwriter: story "Janaiko Kapurusher Kahini" by Premendra Mitra; cinematographer: Soumendu Roy; editor: Dulal Dutta; music: Satyajit Ray; cast: Soumitra Chatterjee (Amitabha Roy), Haradhan Bannerjee (Bimal Gupta), Madhabi Mukhopadhyay (Karuna Gupta); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: R. D. Bansal; Big Home Video; 1965--India--in Bengali with English subtitles)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Satyajit Ray ("The Elephant God"/"Agantuk"/"Distant Thunder") shoots in black and white this unremarkable moralistic drama. It's based on a short story "Janaiko Kapurusher Kahini" by Premendra Mitra,
Calcutta based screenwriter Amitabha Roy (Soumitra
Chatterjee) is scouting a location in Darjeeling for his film, his car
breaks down in a remote city and while the garage
owner is repairing his car a Western educated
wealthy hedonistic tea planter, Bimal Gupta (Haradhan Bannerjee),
invites him to stay overnight in his plantation.
There Roy meets his host's pretty new wife, Karuna (Madhabi Mukhopadhyay),
and is surprised she's the girl he once loved and
abandoned when he was indecisive during his college
student days. Meanwhile the host is not made aware
of their past relationship and eventually passes out
from drinking too much. Able to steal a few moments
alone with Karuna, Roy conveys his love for her and
asks her to leave her uncouth husband now that he
has found success in his field and is more secure.
Karuna never reveals her feelings but refuses any
intimacies and rejects his marriage proposal.
The next morning Roy decides to take the train rather than waiting for the car to be repaired. He passes a note for her to meet him at the railroad station if she still cares about him. Karuna arrives only to reject him, as she returns to her boorish husband.
REVIEWED ON 3/17/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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