The Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar’s massive melodrama about passion, violence and politics in the small village of Bon Palashi. The film is narrated through two sets of characters whose stories are intercut and eventually merged. The first is the family of Girijaprasad, a retired and now impoverished school principal. His inability to invest in the progress of the village has the natives looking for a new leader in his former schoolmate, the businessman Abani. A long flashback, featuring the tragic history of Abani’s old aunt (Molina Devi), serves to frame Girijaprasad’s present crisis: his scheming brother offers the fiance of Girijaprasad’s daughter Bimala a larger dowry to marry his own daughter instead. The second protagonist is the peasant Udas (Uttam Kumar), who loves the good Padma (Choudhury) but is forced to marry the neurotic Laxmi (Nandi) in order to be allowed to learn to drive a bus. Laxmi kills Padma’s father and then commits suicide. Udas tries to get Padma to elope with him but he ends up trying to rape her and, eventually, he kills Padma. Plans to develop the village loom large in the melodrama but the film impresses mainly through its scale (the title means The Songs of Bon Palashi) and its recourse to several acting idioms, including folk theatre.
Did you know?
The film is an adaptation of a novel by Ramapada Chowdhury. Read More