Charulata {The Lonely Housewife}



Charulata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Watch It: For a glimpse of the work of famous director Satyajit Ray. For the story of Rabindranath Tagore evoking a bygone era in a Bengali town. For film history.

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead

Story: A bored housewife entertains herself by embroidery, reading books, and watching people walk by her house. Her husband, who runs a newspaper, seems to have little time for her even when he is at home. He, of course, realizes that she is bored and lonely. So the husband enlists the help of his cousin, who has come to live there, to develop the writing talents of his wife.


During the interaction of the cousin and the wife, she begins to feel interested in him. Meanwhile, the husband is heartbroken to discover that a relative-cum-manager had stolen money from the newspaper funds. He confides his pain to his cousin, who at that time is wrestling with the expression of interest from the housewife.


The confused/anguised cousin decides to do a disappearing act explaining to the husband in a letter that he did not want to be a burden to the couple during the financial crisis. After reading the letter, the husband seems impressed that the cousin was such a sensible person. However, he later hears his wife lamenting the cousin’s decision to leave her and the house, and the husband gets visibly upset. The film concludes with a hint of the disturbed status of the marital relationship stating ‘Broken Nest'{also the name of Rabindranath Tagore’s short story from which the movie is adapted} at the End.


Rating: 5 stars out of 5 for direction for the strong opening scene, which conveys a lot of facts with minimal dialogue. 4 out of 5 stars for the rest of the film.


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