Cast & Crew
Charu Madhabi Mukherjee leads a lonely life in 18th century Calcutta. When her distant husband's artistic cousin comes to town, he and Charulata grow closer than friends.
Charulata (aka The Lonely Wife)
In 1880s Calcutta, Charulata (also known as "Charu") is the beautiful, bored wife of Bhupati, the editor and publisher of a political newspaper. He is consumed with his work and pays little attention to Charu, who spends her time idly observing people she sees outside her elegant home. Bhupati invites Charulata's brother and his wife to stay with them, but they fail to provide a diversion. Charu remains restless and disaffected until her husband's handsome, cultured, and intelligent cousin Amal comes to visit. Charu and Amal are drawn to each other intellectually at first, and before long, emotionally as well.
By the time he made Charulata, Ray had established himself as one of India's leading directors. His first feature, 1955's Pather Panchali, was a worldwide sensation and his reputation grew with the two sequels that followed, as well as with Ray's subsequent films over the next decade. In 1961, Ray made an award-winning documentary about Rabindranath Tagore. Like Tagore, Ray was multi-talented. He not only wrote, directed and shot his films, but he also frequently composed their musical scores. In Charulata, there is a ravishingly beautiful scene of Charu on a swing, singing a song. That song was written by Tagore, while the other music in the film is credited to Ray. Charulata was the first time the director operated the camera on one of his films, a practice that he continued throughout his career. He liked the additional control it gave him.
Charulata received generally good reviews when it was released in 1964. "The interplay of sophistication and simplicity is extraordinary," wrote Penelope Houston of Sight & Sound magazine. Howard Thompson opened his New York Times review by saying "Nobody but Satyajit Ray could have made Charulata," and added, "the picture is an artistic masterpiece, impeccably performed." However, Thompson grumbled a bit about the film's pace. "As do all Ray films, it moves like a majestic snail." More than half a century later, the film's luster has not dimmed, it has become more burnished. Celebrating the film's fiftieth anniversary, Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian in 2014, "It's just so extraordinarily vivid and fresh...There is such miraculous clarity here, such great acting, staged with theatrical aplomb and shot with unshowy genius... Ray's own artistry and poise emerges very strongly." Director: Satyajit Ray
Producer: R.D. Bansal
Screenplay: Satyajit Ray, based on the novella by Rabindranath Tagore
Cinematography: Subrata Mitra
Editor: Dulal Dutta
Art Direction: Bansi Chandragupta
Music: Satyajit Ray
Principal Cast: Sailen Mukherjee (Bhupati), Madhabi Mukherjee (Charulata), Soumitra Chatterjee (Amal), Shyamal Ghoshal (Umapada), Geetali Roy (Mandakini), Bholanath (Koyal (Branath), Suku Mukherjee (Nishikanta), Dilip Bose (Sasanka)
by Margarita Landazuri
Charulata (aka The Lonely Wife)
Re-released in United States June 2, 1995
Shown at Berlin Film Festival February 1965.
Shown at New York Film Festival September 10, 1965.
Released in United States 1992 (Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23 - May 7, 1992.)
Released in United States February 1965 (Shown at Berlin Film Festival February 1965.)
Winner of the Best Director Prize at the 1965 Berlin Film Festival.
Released in United States 1992
Released in United States February 1965
Released in United States March 1975
Released in United States September 10, 1965
Re-released in United States December 27, 1995
Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23 - May 7, 1992.
Released in United States September 10, 1965 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 10, 1965.)
Released in United States March 1975 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition March 13-26, 1975.)
Re-released in United States June 2, 1995 (Lincoln Plaza Cinemas; New York City)
Re-released in United States December 27, 1995 (Film Forum; New York City)