Legendary Indian, Satyajit Ray, was not just a talented filmmaker; but, also a brilliant writer. In fact, he was an illustrator, calligrapher, music composer and graphic designer, too, but that’s a whole other story. Besides being a children’s favourite for his Feluda series of detective stories, Ray was also known for his short stories – one of which was Atithi (“The Guest”).
Ray’s last film, Agantuk (“The Stranger”), which came out in 1991, was in fact based on this short story. Without spoiling much, let me just say the plot revolves around the character played by Utpal Dutt (that’s the guy in the red
panjabi kurta in the video), who claims to be the uncle of the woman in the video, played my Mamata Shankar. Not everyone is convinced about his identity and so, a friend of the family, played by Dhritiman Chatterjee (the bearded man in grey) is brought in to cross check his claims.
The clip below, is one of the most iconic parts from the film, where Dutt’s and Chatterjee’s characters talk about religion, science, anthropology and the very idea of civilization itself. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know Bengali to understand it as the clip has accurate subtitles.
If you have a little over 13 minutes to spare, don’t miss this.
Agantuk is a classic in Bengali cinema. If you ever get your hands on a copy, I’d suggest you grab it.