|The Cloud-Capped Star|
(Meghe Dhaka Tara)
September 19, 2003 (Friday) at 7:30 p.m.
(India, 1960, 120 minutes, b&w, DVD)
A masterpiece of 20th century Indian cinema, THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR (Meghe Dhaka Tara) is an elegantly structured melodrama about the harsh social and economic realities created by the partition of Bengal following the independence of India and Pakistan. Set in Calcutta in the 1950s, the film depicts the day-to-day lives of a poor family of Bengali refugees and the brave efforts to Nita, the eldest daughter, to keep them afloat. The soundtrack, which features Bengali classical and folk music, is exceptional.
THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR, the first part of a trilogy about the effects of Partition on the lives of individuals, was followed by E FLAT (Komal Gandar) in 1960 and SUBARNAREKHA in 1965. It is, however, the most famous and the best of these three films--a unique study of a woman, a family and a society struggling to survive not just poverty but the emotional fractures of the time.