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Setting out in the Real World isn’t a Cakewalk: On Satyajit Ray’s Timeless ‘Mahanagar’ (1963)

By Prithvijeet Sinha
Mahanagar (1963) is one of the most balanced portrayals of the real-life struggles in middle-class families, both at a particular and universal level. Let's face it then that times may have changed, and the man-to-woman ratio of working individuals may have tripled. But in a whirling male-dominated economy, tilting the scales in favor of an equitable representation for females is still a challenging proposition for thousands.

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Enchantment as Pedagogy in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’ (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha)

By Paromita Patranobish
I wish to examine the particular ideological function and semiotic valence of music in Satyajit Ray's 1968 film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha, henceforth GGBB) as an expressive modality made to traverse seemingly polarised forms of instruction/pedagogy and enchantment/fantasy.

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Saree-r paar, rosogolla, and Ray

By Aratrika Das
But the hungry faces continue to appear in Ray’s films. In the Apu trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959), Apu and Durga’s mother, Sarbajaya, is constantly worried about food and feeding. The old aunt, Indir Thakrun, is desperately hungry. In Pather Panchali (Song of the Road, 1955), misti signposts a lack, it is something that young hungry villagers desire and cannot have. Misti foregrounds the protagonists as pitiable bodies.

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The Everyman in Ray’s Cinema

By Indrasish Banerjee
These three traits characterize almost all the characters that Ray created or adopted from literature for his films. Apu, in Aparajito, had all three of them, so did Manomohan Mitra, in Agantuk. The three characteristics lift them from mediocrity.

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Soumitra, and the Evolution of a Fan

By Rituparna Roy
Soumitra thus entered my life in my school days. Not a unique story, that; what was, was that I saw him most in a role that he never played on screen – as Amit Ray, of Shesher Kabita. In the 70 mm of my mind! This is how it began: a Bournvita Quiz Contest question on a Sunday on the novella had my mother summarizing the story for me. The rest of the day was spent reading it, and the next few days translating some favourite passages in my diary.

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Imagining Bengal’s Past: Dance in Ray’s Cinema

By Debanjali Biswas
One of the reasons Ray chose to adapt Jalsaghar onto celluloid was because it offered ample scope for music and dance, or ingredients for a marketable, successful film. To satiate his audience, Ray shows three jalsa-s – the occurrence of each is also linked with the social impact of transition in patronage.

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Contents: Pandemics/Epidemics and Literature (Issue 57)

Contents: Pandemics/Epidemics and Literature (Issue 57)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Epidemics/Pandemics and Literature

By Nishi Pulugurtha
This issue of Café Dissensus on Epidemics/Pandemics and Literature consists of essays that discuss the way pandemics/epidemics have been represented in literary texts and the way they feature in the narrative and/or influence it. Literature, to use a cliché, holds up a mirror to us. That is true of epidemics as well. Literature takes us beyond figures and statistics to reveal how the crises affect the lives of individuals. It also shows the similarity in human response over the centuries and across geographical spaces.

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The Wonder of Living and the Anxiety of Death

By Ranu Uniyal
Moments of happiness are few and far in Mrs Dalloway – the pleasure of buying flowers is juxtaposed with the precarity of the pain and anxiety of Septimus Smith. In To the Lighthouse, the joy and precision of a meal which is a coming together of different minds also conveys the uncertainty and ennui besieging Mrs Ramsay, while the guests are still at the dinner table.

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Pandemics: Insights from World Literature

By Sambhu Nath Banerjee
During the summer of 1665, Isaac Newton, in his early twenties, moved to his family farm of Woolsthorpe Manor, some sixty miles northwest of Cambridge in order to escape the plague that was ravaging London. Woolsthorpe provided the sort of serene environment that allowed the mind of Newton to begin his journey to the world of unhindered imagination.

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‘The Last Man’: Mary Shelley and her Defiance against Dystopia

By Sarottama Majumdar
In the novel The Last Man, the symbolic significance of the epidemic which first surfaced in Constantinople and whose devastation would finally conclude with the death of the eponymous last man in Rome, is not lost on readers.

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