January 17, 2009

Apur Sansar

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) 1959

Year - 1959
Producer - Satyajit Ray Productions
Screenplay - Satyajit Ray
Based on - The novel Aparajito by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee
Photography - Subrata Mitra
Editor - Dulal Dutta
Art Director - Bansi Chandragupta
Music - Ravi Shankar
Sound - Durgadas Mitra
Length - 106 min.
Print - Black & White

Apu - Soumitra Chatterjee
Aparna - Sharmila Tagore
Kajal - Alok Chakravarty
Pulu - Swapan Mukherjee
Pulu's wife - Sefalika Devi
Sasinarayan - Dhiresh Majumdar

The World of Apu has often been called the most tender love story ever produced. The film describes Apu's marriage, the loss of his beloved wife, his descent into deep depression and his eventual regeneration through the love of his son and Pulu.

The story begins in Calcutta, around 1930. Apu has to give up the pursuit of his studies and looks for work, but without success. He is writing a novel based on his life. His friend Pulu, who is from a well-to-do background, proposes a stay in the country with his family. Obliged to attend a wedding, Apu unexpectedly becomes the groom. Initially his young wife is depressed by his poverty but accepts her new life and the realities of town-life with dignity and courage. Pregnant, she departs to be with her family, but dies while bringing her child into the world. Apu, who blames the infant for its mother's death, refuses to see it and leaves the child to grow-up in his grandparent's house. At last he gives up his novel and goes to meet his son in an attempts to come to grips with his loss. Reunited, the two of them leave for Calcutta.

Ray: "I particularly wanted new faces for Apu, his wife Aparna, his five-year-old-son Kajal and his friend Pulu... When I was looking for a character to play the adolescent Apu in Aparajito among the young men who came to see me was Soumitra Chatterjee. Soumitra had the right look, but was too old for adolescent Apu. This time I sent for him and offered him the lead role... Soumitra... went on to become the most sought after actor in Bengal. It was, however, not easy to find Aparna. Sharmila had appeared in a dance recital for the Children's Little Theater... She was only thirteen years old but now looked about four years older (in a red-striped sari)... Sharmila made an extremely successful career for herself in Bombay [subsequently]."
The original negative of this film was lost in a fire.

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