Director: Mani Kaul; Writer: Vijayadan Detha; Producer: Mani Kaul; Cinematographer: Navroze Contractor; Editor: Ravi Patnaik; Cast: Hardan, Manohar Lalas, Ravi Menon, Raisa Padamsee, Bhola Ram, Kana Ram, Shambhudan
Duration: 01:18:48; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 50.552; Saturation: 0.222; Lightness: 0.270; Volume: 0.135; Cuts per Minute: 6.040; Words per Minute: 23.412
Summary: Kaul’s third film, financed by the FFC and an independent multi-arts co-op led by the noted painter Akbar Padamsee. Derived from a Rajasthani folk-tale, it tells of a merchant’s son (Menon) who returns home with his new bride (Padamsee), only to be sent away again on family business. A ghost witnesses the bride’s arrival and falls in love with her. He takes on the absent husband’s form and lives with her. She has his child, which poses a problem when the real husband returns home. A shepherd traps the ghost in a bag. The film focuses on the wife’s life and dispenses with almost any dialogue, developing the characters through parallel, historically uneven and even contradictory narratives. The classical styles of the Kangra and Basohli miniature paintings inform the colour schemes, the framing and the editing, as well as the somewhat melancholic atmosphere of the film. This is contrasted by the full-blooded folk-music score. Kaul skilfully orchestrates the way classical and folk forms (apparently) contradict each other in the way they present each other’s fantasy worlds, an opposition with many ramifications in the realm of everyday behaviour. It is one of Kaul’s best-known films and was widely shown in Europe. It was also sharply attacked by Satyajit Ray who preferred what he took to be the ‘realism’ of Benegal and M.S. Sathyu’s work.