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Satyajit Ray Org
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[i]Pratidwandi[/i] is one of the Master's angry Calcutta films, based on a story by Sunil Gangopadhyay and set in the city during the turbulent early '70s.
The futility of the revolutionary path for the jobless belonging to the lower-middle class has been most brilliantly depicted in this film.
A young man, Siddhartha, forced by circumstances to give up medical studies, is looking around for a job commensurate with his academic qualifications. But he has two conditions: he will not go out of Calcutta to work, and prefer not to be in sales. He harbored Marxist sympathies as a student, but his experience with the world has made him think more realistically. His cousin, associating with the radical Maoists of his generation--better known as Naxalites--calls him a coward and a renegade. He suspects his sister--who works in a private company and dresses seductively--of sleeping with her boss but finds himself helpless to do anything about it. He is a "good boy" in the conventional sense: he will not even look at the semi-clad nurse, who doubles as a whore and who his friend frequents, let alone do anything.
His patience with things as they are comes to a head when he gets into a scuffle with an interview board in protest against the pathetic arrangements made for candidates.
In the end, though, he is forced by circumstances again to take up a sales job outside Calcutta.
The story of Siddartha is the story of his generation, disillusioned by the political ideology held so dear to their hearts at one point of time in their lives. The hopes of a better and just world lying in shambles around them, they have no other option but to compromise with the very system they had fought against (ideologically, that is) to secure their place within that system and ultimately ensure their survival.
Did Siddhartha regret his past association with the forces of revolutionary change? It is evident he did: he turns down an offer--to become a party wholetimer--made by a leftist party leader he knew (he says to himself:[i]Aar gyan deben naa [/i]). That revolutionary knowledge has been of little or no use to him there is no doubt about.
A brilliant performance by a young Dhritimaan Chatterjee.
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