EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|NAYAK: THE HERO (director/writer: Satyajit Ray; cinematographer: Subrata Mitra; editors: Dulai Dutta/; music: Satyajit Ray; cast: Sharmila Tagore (Aditi), Uttam Kumar Chatterjee (Arindam Mukherjee), Premangshu Bose (Biresh), Ranjit Sen (Haren Bose), Bharati Devi (Bose's wife), Lali Chowdhury (Bulbul, Bose's daughter), Somen Bose (Sankar), Kamu Mukherjee (Sarkar), Susmita Mukherjee (Sarkar's wife Molly), Subrata Sensharma (Ajoy), Jamuna Sinha (Ajoy's Wife), Bireswar Sen (Mukunda Lahiri), Sumita Sanyal (Chatterjee), Nirmal Ghosh (Jyoti), Jogesh Chatterjee (Aghore, elderly journalist); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: R.D. Bansal; NY Film Annex; 1966-India-in Bengali with English subtitles)|
|"It chugs along as a long train
ride into the past."
by Dennis Schwartz
An obscure reflective film about the movie industry and the false public perceptions to induce hero worship that was perpetuated for the stars by the industry, as directed and written by India's great filmmaker Satyajit Ray ("Pather Panchali"/"Devi"/"The Stranger"). The slight script touches on a soap opera story of a famous actor reflecting on his rise to stardom and how his false image as a hero is behind his box-office success and his celebrity, as he mulls over the consequences he must pay for his fame (like not able to sleep without taking sleeping pills) and worries about his downfall if his films bomb at the box-office. Thoughtful acting by the leads makes this minor Ray film bearable. It chugs along as a long train ride into the past, that could have used a few stopovers to check out the scenery and whatnot.
Mukherjee (Uttam Kumar
Chatterjee) is a superstar film actor
who leaves Bengali by train to accept a film award
in Delhi. It comes after a morning newspaper reports
he had a nightclub drunken brawl that night. The
self-indulgent actor shares a compartment with the
Bose family, the secretive businessman husband (Ranjit
Sen) and his caring wife (Bharati
Devi), and their sick young daughter (Lali
Chowdhury). Bored with the ride,
the actor agrees to be interviewed by the attractive
Tagore), a writer for the magazine
Modern Woman which shuns coverage on movies.
interviewed many times before by the media and his
life story well-known, the actor this time starts
out in the same superficial manner but after a
nightmare and later a suicide attempt he sees the
light and goes into a truthful confessional mode and
tells the naive Aditi about his shortcomings and
insecurities and obstacles he had to overcome, and
how his ambition fueled him. When he gained success
he betrayed his leftist school friend (Premangshu
Bose) by refusing to publicly back his
causes, fearing it would be risky for his career.
Through further flashbacks we see how he later got
revenge on the noted rigid silent actor (Bireswar
Sen) who mocked him openly on the set
when making his screen debut and that he refused to
give a part to a beautiful woman (Sumita
Sanyal) who would do anything to
get into the movies.
of the stories made much of an impact, including the
subplots among the passengers showing that life
imitates art. In one instance a struggling sleazy
advertiser (Kamu Mukherjee)
tries pimping his unhappy wife (Susmita
Mukherjee) to get the account of Bose's firm
but hypercritically refuses to allow her to have the
chance to be in films.
before embarking in Delhi, the compassionate Aditi
rips up her notes and tells the vulnerable actor she
will not tell his true story and risk destroying his
career. In Delhi they part and go separate ways.
The arthouse film was a winner at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 1/9/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ