Director: Ritwik Ghatak; Writer: Advaita Malla Burman, Ritwik Ghatak; Producer: Habibur Rahman Khan; Cinematographer: Baby Islam; Editor: Basheer Hussain; Cast: Rosy Samad, Kaberi Choudhury, Roshan Jamil, Rani Sircar, Sufia Rustam, Banani Choudhury, Prabir Mitra, Chand
Duration: 02:30:41; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 57.497; Saturation: 0.000; Lightness: 0.316; Volume: 0.177; Cuts per Minute: 5.773; Words per Minute: 33.167
Summary: Story: Advaita Malla Burman's novel.
Ghatak’s film, considered by some to be his masterpiece, is a Bangladesh production made shortly after its independence. The tale is set among Malo fishermen living by the Titash river. Kishore’s (Mitra) bride (K. Choudhury) is abducted by river bandits. She escapes and is rescued by the fisherfolk, with whom she lives and raises her child. Kishore becomes a madman and is offered shelter by his wife but they recognise each other only before they die. The child is raised by Basanti (Samad) while the river starts silting up and urban traders drive out the fisherfolk. Kumar Shahani devoted an essay to the film, ‘The Passion of a Resurrected Spring’ (1985), suggesting that the tightly cut beginning of the abduction sequence has the closed structure of a myth which the film gradually opens out into history, especially through the archetypally constructed male and female spaces. Kishore represents an unprecedented amalgamation of Christ and Shiva, usually regarded as contradictory figures, while the thrice-born female figure, associated with the motif of the nurturing river, constitutes a movement of both historical displacement and deliverance. For Shahani the only precedent for such a construction is classical Indian sculpture’s use of volume: the film works entirely through planar rather than perspectival depth while condensing opposites such as ‘natural’ and highly evolved cultural forms into the same image. The film, which works according to an iconographic rather than a narrative logic, places those hybrid images at the end of a civilisation (the drying up of the river), anticipating a future overshadowed by industrial encroachments on nature. The film exists in two versions, the second being c.30’ shorter and apparently cut by Ghatak himself.