The Big City at Glasgow Film Theatre

The Big City

22 – 24 July, 2022

Wonderfully enjoyable, with the scope and density of a richly absorbing novel, Satyajit Ray’s tale of family and city life is set in mid-1950s Calcutta, a society still adjusting to India’s independence.

Subrata Mazumdar (Anil Chatterjee), a young bank clerk struggling to support his entire extended family on a meagre salary, is horrified when his wife Arati (a ravishing, spirited performance from Madhabi Mukherjee) dares to challenge his cherished belief that ‘a woman’s place is with her cooking pots’. She not only takes a job but proves a huge success in the workplace, relishing her new-found independence and thoroughly upsetting the family dynamic.

Bengali star Mukherjee, here working with Ray for the first time, confessed herself ‘stunned’ by his extraordinary ‘woman-centred’ screenplay, so different from anything she had previously encountered. Yet, for all his focus on Arati, Ray – who is renowned for his breadth of sympathy – also deploys warmth, humour and acute psychological insight in his depiction of Arati’s conservative old father-in-law, her studious teenage sister-in-law and her benevolently despotic boss.

GFT 12 Rose Street, G3 6RB

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