Noted novelist Tarashankar Bannerjee’s book addressed the desire for immortality through art. In his own screen adaptation, the railway porter Nitai (Robin Majumdar) develops a reputation as a poet through participating in the kabigan (musical debate between poets who improvise in a question-answer contest). The married Thakurjhee (Anubha Gupta) falls in love with him. To avert a scandal he leaves his village and travels with a nomadic Jhumur troupe of dancers and musicians. The prostitute Basan (Nilima Das), whose advances the hero initially rejects, eventually comes to embody the unity of art and desire. Her death forces him to return home, where he finds Thakurjhee also dead. The performances of the two women, the mute suffering of the mundane Thakurjhee, counterposed by Basan’s delicate frame crippled by venereal disease, and seen as the two sensuous opposites evoked by the hero’s poetry, allow for some graceful moments in the film. The film was known for its music, esp. Tarashankar’s lyrics Kalo jodi manda tobe, Ei khed mor mone mone, jiban eito chhoto kane, sung by male lead Majumdar, one of the last actors in the Saigal mould. Bose’s ecstatic soft close-ups, his signature, are available in profusion. He remade the film in Hindi (1954) with Geeta Bali, Nalini Jaywant and Bharat Bhushan.
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