131 min., B/W, In Bengali with subtitles.
||Indus Films (Subir Guha)
|Screenplay & Direction:
||Satyajit Ray, Based on the
novel: 'Jana Aranya' by Mani Shankar Mukherjee.
||J. D. Irani, Anil Talukdar,
Adinath Nag, Sujit Ghosh
|Kamala, Bhombol's wife:
| Somnath's girlfriend:
|Sukumar's sister Kauna, called
The film begins with blatant cheating in the examination hall.
Somnath (Pradip Mukherjee), an honest student, finds himself doing
badly in the exams due to an overworked examiner, without his glasses
who is unable to read his small handwriting. As he is in no position
to marry, his girlfriend gets married to someone else due to pressure
from her family.
A bright and idealistic young man, Somnath begins search of a job
along with his more realistic friend Sukumar (Gautam Chakravarti).
With the job market flooded with thousands of hopefuls, Somnath
faces some absurd interviews. He gives up his search after an interview
in which he asked, 'what is the weight of the moon?' Later, he
encounters an older man, the street-smart businessman, Bisuda (Utpal
Dutta). On Bisuda's advise, Somnath becomes a middleman, an order
supplier paid on commission. His father, an upright middle-class
man considers this business to be disgraceful to the family reputation.
Somnath, soon, finds himself earning through petty deals but he
is ambitious and wants to grow his enterprise. His friend Sukumar,
however, has not had much luck and now works as a taxi driver.
There is chance of Somnath landing up with a big order but the
client seems to be in no hurry to sign the deal. An acquaintance,
Mr. Mitter, advises him to supply the client with a prostitute
to clinch the deal. After much hesitation, he agrees.
They go in search of a prostitute. After visiting two brothels,
they finally find a girl. She turns out to be his friend Sukumar's
sister. Somnath asks her to take the money and leave, but she is
a professional and would not take money with out earning it. Somnath
agrees and delivers her to his client's room in a hotel.
He gets the contract but it does not bring him any happiness. Finally,
as he enters his family house through a dark door, he is no longer
an innocent boy but a corrupt man who has discovered the advantages
This is the final film of trilogy known as the Calcutta Trilogy.
The first two were Pratidwandi
1970) and Seemabaddha
1971). All the three films study the effect the big city of Calcutta
has on the educated youth and the price it extracts from them.
Ray told in an interview
that the only bleak film he had made was The Middleman.
The film is about corruption of a young man; from an idealistic
individual to a corrupt businessman who ends up offering his best
friend's sister to a client for a business favor.
Superb performances by all the leading actors.
What others say...
... few of Ray's films have offered so wide a range of quick,
- Penelope Houston
- Best Direction New Delhi, 1975
- Best Film, Direction, Screenplay, Government of West Bengal,
- Karlovy Vary Prize, 1976
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Somnath ©Nemai Ghosh
Bisu, Adok and Somnath ©Nemai Ghosh
Somnath and Sukumar
and Mr. Mitter
Juthika and Somnath
Somnath with his father ©Nemai Ghosh
Ray rehearses Utpal Dutt ©Nemai Ghosh
Ray paints a wall-poster ©Nemai Ghosh
Poster by Ray
© Ray Family