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Jana Aranya

Posted by martinteller on August 7, 2007

Another phenomenal film from Satyajit Ray.  A young graduate in Calcutta, discouraged by trying to compete in an extremely overcrowded workforce, decides to go into business for himself.  As his career progresses, he faces a crisis of moral integrity.  This is a really dark film for Ray, although one with a well-honed comic edge to it.  There are some marvelous touches — the way every cigarette seems to indicate another piece of Somnath’s soul burning away, the glove compartment protecting its secrets, the candlelit dinner, the witty job interview montage, the shots of the imposing and decaying city.  Great performances throughout, especially from the lead actor Pradip Mukherjee (sadly, this was his only work with Ray) and Robi Ghosh (who always seems to have a comedic role in Ray’s films).  I did get confused about who a certain character was, but it made more sense (and felt quite a bit more genuine) afterwards when I figured out who it was.  It’s my own fault for not watching the film straight through.  Rating: 9


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