Nutan’s best-known film is set in the women’s ward of a pre-independence prison. The story is based on a book by Jarasandha, a former Alipore central jail superintendent who wrote fictional versions of his experiences (Louha- Kapat, 1953; Tamasha, 1958; Nyaydanda, 1961). The gentle inmate Kalyani (Nutan), imprisoned for murder, appears determined to serve her full sentence, resisting the kind overtures of the prison doctor (Dharmendra). Her past is told in flashback. In a 30s Bengal riddled with revolutionary terrorists, she had become involved with the anarchist Bikash Ghosh (A. Kumar), and tries to save his life by claiming to be his wife. Her father (Paranjpe) insists that for her honour’s sake she must really marry the man. Bikash disappears and Kalyani later learns that he has married another woman. To avoid her father’s dishonour she leaves the village and becomes a servant in a nursing home where she encounters a particularly obnoxious patient who is revealed to be Bikash’s wife. Regarding her as the cause of all her and her father’s suffering, Kalyani poisons the woman and assumes her guilt. The sentimental story, which suggests a straight link between terrorism and patricide, is redeemed by the most accomplished cinematography Bimal Roy ever achieved and by Nutan’s performance, perhaps the only consistent expression in Indian film of female guilt.
Did you know?
The entire rural backdrop was shot in Shahibganj, in present Jharkhand. Bimol Roy chose this remote location after passing by the spot and finding a beautiful landscape with the Ganga river. Read More