January 9, 2009

Ashani Sanket

Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder) 1973

Year - 1973
Producer - Balaka Movies
Screenplay - Satyajit Ray
Based on - The novel Ashani Sanket by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee
Photography - Soumendu Roy
Editor - Dulal Dutta
Art Director - Ashoke Bose
Music - Satyajit Ray
Sound - J. D. Irani, Durgadas Mitra
Length - 101 min.
Print - Color

Gangacharan Chakravarty - Soumitra Chatterjee
Ananga - Babita
Biswas - Ramesh Mukherjee
Moti - Chitra Banerjee
Dinabandhu - Govinda Chakravarty
Chutki - Sandhya Roy
Jadu - Noni Ganguli
Moksada - Seli Pal
Khenti - Suchita Roy
Nibaran - Anil Ganguli
Adhar - Debatosh Ghosh

The action, which occurs in a tiny village in 1943, during World War II, is based on the man-made famine that caused the deaths of five million inhabitants of Colonial Bengal.
Gangacharan, a Brahmin recently settled in the village with his wife Ananga, decides to start a school in exchange for being supported by the villagers. Airplanes disturb the peaceful sky, a metaphor for the disruption of traditional life of the villagers by War in Europe. It causes the price of rice to increase rapidly. This causes hardship for and rioting by the villagers and hoarding of grain by merchants. Gangacharan, shrewd, manages to initially keep himself supplied with food in exchange for his services. However conditions begin to deteriorate rapidly. Anaga is molested while hunting for edible roots in the lush forest, highlighting the irony of the situation: there is no drought and the fields have produced a good harvest that season. The film ends with Anaga telling Ganga about her pregnancy as a deluge of starving humanity approaches them.

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