(aka 'Charulata' or 'The Lonely Wife')
Satyajit Ray's fascination with Rabindranath Tagore culminated in CHARULATA, his twelfth film and arguably his greatest achievement. Based on a short story by Tagore, it is a surprisingly modern tale of love, lust, fidelity, and a woman's growing self-awareness against the backdrop of the Bengal Renaissance, a vibrant intellectual awakening in 19th-century India.
Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), the childless wife of a wealthy Bengali intellectual, lives in seclusion in her spacious and ornate home in Calcutta, while winds of change are blowing away the cobwebs outside. Her husband, Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee), inspired by Mill and Bentham, spends his inherited wealth in the pursuit of freedom and equality, by editing an English-language liberal political weekly. But he has no time for Charu, who has little to do in a home run like a well-oiled machine by a fleet of old retainers.
With its beauty, structural perfection and conceptual purity, CHARULATA remains a triumph of Ray's craftsmanship and cinematic vision. The exquisite interiors created by art director Bansi Chandragupta were among the best of his work, as were the subtle use of lights and the sensitivity of Subrata Mitra's camera. The costumes, the faces, and the detailed structuring of the film created a superbly colourful piece of monochrome cinema. CHARULATA has the quality of a miniature painting, where minute details are revealed by a stroke of the finest brush, and the unspoken is made visual by a mere suggestion.
Theatrical Release: June 1965 - Berlin International Film Festival
DVD Review: Bollywood Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Bollywood Entertainment Home Video - Region 0 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 7.43 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Bengali (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, Hindi, French, German, Dutch, Russian, None|
I had already hear some bad things about this DVD transfer... and I see they were accurate - it is quite poor. Our bitrate chart confirms that it is from an analog source. While I have certainly seen worse what I am most bothered about is the contrast boosting which often obscures details in the background (see one example below). It is a totally unnecessary digital manipulation that is only used to hide poor detail (and obviously bring up very dark scenes). It is neither progressive nor, I'll assume, from the correct standard as there are 'combing' problems evident throughout all horizontal pans.
The extras consist of a single song (one used in the film) and I'll gather as the name of the production company is 'Bollywood Entertainment' that they have surely missed the mark in rendering this particular title to digital. Commonly with Bollywood films (of which Charulata is NOT one, btw) there is a lot of song, dance and music - this is the place in the supplements where they could have put the many musical numbers that infuse a Bollywood expression. Here it looks kind of silly. Other than that the subtitles have various gaps and this is obviously not a disc that we can recommend. I suspect that my VHS is of better quality. If you are intent on buying to see the masterpiece film (perhaps my 2nd favorite of Ray's) BEWARE!