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Tagore's Broken Nest vs. Ray's Charulata: A Critique

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Like Rabindranath Tagore's novella Nastanir (The Broken Nest), its film version by Satyajit Ray titled Charulata (name of the novella's main character) has been hailed by critics as one of the most outstanding achievements of their creators. A leading film critic of India has even claimed that in Charulata "Ray's understanding of the character is perfect.... Charulata is observed entirely from the inside."1 My paper argues that Ray not only distorted the story of Nastanir, he totally and brutally caricatured Bhupati's character, neutered Amal's and marginalized Manda's in order to render the novella filmworthy and reflective of his personal preferences.

Keywords: Broken Nest; Charulata; Rabindranath Tagore; Satyajit Ray; critique; novella

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Western Oregon University

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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