Music Room

Music Room

4.2 5
Director: Satyajit Ray

Cast: Chhabi Biswas, Ganga Pada Basu, Kali Sarkar

     
 

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After completing his widely acclaimed Pather Panjali and Aparajito, the first two films in his "Apu Trilogy," Bengali director Satyajit Ray squeezed in time for this modest drama before finishing his trilogy in 1959 with The World of Apu. Possibly analogous to a broader picture of existence or even modern India, this compelling tale traces theSee more details below

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Overview

After completing his widely acclaimed Pather Panjali and Aparajito, the first two films in his "Apu Trilogy," Bengali director Satyajit Ray squeezed in time for this modest drama before finishing his trilogy in 1959 with The World of Apu. Possibly analogous to a broader picture of existence or even modern India, this compelling tale traces the deteriorating life of an old country nobleman. He lives in the past, in a slowly decaying villa, and cannot adjust to the fast-changing, vastly different modern world that surrounds him on all sides. Melancholy and inward-turning, he remembers the grand old days of societal soirées and political power and mourns the death of his wife and his son, deaths which he survived only to live alone in a house filled with memories. In a last-gasp effort, the old man opts for one grand gesture to recall past glories.

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Made during Satyajit Ray's late '50s creative peak, The Music Room is often overshadowed by the Apu trilogy. A commercial failure, it was released between the second and third films in the series, Aparajito and Apur Sansar, but over the years it has come to be regarded as one of his greatest achievements. The story of a nobleman ruined by hubris and consumed by regret, it exhibits the emotional depth and visual richness that distinguish Ray's best work, and features a performance by Chhabi Biswas in the lead role of Huzur Biswambhar Roy that is nothing less than devastating. (Ray held Biswas in such high regard that after his death in 1962 Ray simply stopped writing roles for middle-aged men.) Biswas' Roy is a portrait of tragic arrogance. Obsessed with throwing lavish concerts in his mansion both to maintain his social status and to indulge in the pleasures of music, he neglects his family until the deaths of his son and wife and the loss of his fortune leave him alone in his decaying mansion with only his guilt, and a single long-suffering servant, to keep him company. It is a mark of Ray's talent as a director and Biswas' skill as an actor that he remains a sympathetic character to the end, when he stages one final concert to show up his crass, upwardly mobile neighbor Mahim Ganguly (Ganga Pada Basu). A single lingering shot of Roy's face as he is transfixed by a musical performance or reflecting on the mistakes of his life says more than any number of pages of dialogue. The concert sequences are stunning in themselves. Ray hired some of the finest musicians in India for the film, and their performances, shown in their entirety, add another layer of richness to one of Ray's best works.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/19/2011
UPC:
0715515084314
Original Release:
1958
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:39:00
Sales rank:
5,764

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Scene Index

Satyajit Ray (1984), a feature Documentary by Shyam Benegal that chronicles Ray's career through Interviews with the Filmmaker, Family Photographs, and extensive clips from his films; ; New Interviews with Ray biographer Andrew Robinson and Filmmaker Mira Nair; ; Excerpt from a 1981 French roundtable discussion featuring Ray, film critic Michel Ciment, and Director Claude Sautet; ; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp, a 1963 essay by Ray on the film's location, and a 1986 interview with the Director about the film's music

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