Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teen Kanya: Samapti (Conclusion)

Satyajit Ray, 1961, 1 hour, Bengal

Yet one more unprecedented melding of the two giants, another essay which comes from the depths of the heart and soul.. Aparna Sen gives a dazzling prima-donna performance at a young age. She is the girl child, the adolescent, prankish Minmoyee, nicknamed Pagli (mad girl). She is notorious in the village for her wayward ways. The hero Amulya takes an inexplicable fancy to her and won't marry anyone else, and his widowed mother has to give in to his wish. But even Amulya little realizes what he has bargained into. She escapes through the window on the nuptial night to feed her pet squirrel. The next morning she is found asleep on the swing. She is locked in her room but smashes everything in sight and tears the books. Amulya finally deposits her with her own mother and goes away to continue his studies.

But then awareness gradually dawns. She loses her squirrel, but-what a touch!-will not go even to bury her. This is a movie made up of ordinary events, but nothing is expected or foreseeable. The dialog is robust and lean and there is no hint of sentimentality. In Minmoyee Ray has given an infinitely layered and complex portraiture of womanhood, springing from the mysterious vaults of genius to which a review can hardly do justice.

Ray's films have a way of soaring suddenly towards the end and this one too, like The Postmaster. has a knock-out ending.

"The Postmaster - a story of betrayal - is a pure and simple small masterpiece; the second, "The Conclusion," has some memorable scenes, beauty, and wit but also has some defects of rhythm, so it is merely wonderful..."
- Pauline Kael 


Nathanael Hood said...

Are any of these films available for download or on youtube?

S. M. Rana said...

They are on Youtube as well as the dubious sources. Postmaster in five segments with subtitles is linked on Youtube below and at under an hour, it would be interesting how it comes through to you: