This Indo-Bangladesh co-production sees the return to prominence of Tarafdar (Ganga, 1960). In East Bengal during Partition, the Hindu patriarch Rajmohan (Dutt), aka White Boss because of his fair complexion, stays behind when his family emigrates to Calcutta. His only companion, the poor Maqbool (Hussain), ridicules him for staying in what is now Pakistan. Rajmohan’s daughter-in-law, facing poverty in Calcutta, asks him to sell a giant four-poster bed that had once been her dowry, and to send her the money. The opulent bed, renowned throughout the village for its size and elaborate craftsmanship, is bought by Maqbool (who dreams of making love to his wife on it). This sparks a major controversy among the Muslim gentry in the village as Maqbool is accused of trying to transcend his class position. The quarrel is eventually resolved and Rajmohan imagines Maqbool’s two children sleeping on the bed in the manner of the infant Krishna. With fluent dialogue and memorable acting, esp. by Dutt and Hussain, the recourse to the bed as a metaphor within a realist idiom allows the film to address the fantasy dimensions inherent in questions of class and religion.
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