Charulata - the lonely woman

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German title Charulata - the lonely woman
Original title চারুলতা
Country of production India
original language Bengali
Publishing year 1964
length 112 minutes
Director Satyajit Ray
script Satyajit Ray
production RD Bansal
music Satyajit Ray
camera Subrata Mitra
cut Dulal Dutta

Charulata - the lonely woman ( Bengali : চারুলতা , Cārulatā ) is an Indian feature film by Satyajit Ray from 1964. It was based on the story Nastanir by Rabindranath Thakur .


Charulata lives in the 19th century with her husband Bhupati, a wealthy political publisher, in a large villa in Kolkata . His work takes up all of his time and Charulata fights against boredom with manual labor, reading and watching passers-by.

In order to get his wife distraction and relief, he invites Charulata's brother and his wife. The brother is employed as the publisher's manager and authorized signatory. During a sudden storm, the brother Bhupatis, the inexperienced and easy-going literature student Amal, appears unexpectedly.

Bhupati hires Amal to look after Charulata and nurture her hidden literary talents. But you shouldn't notice anything of the planned targeted care. Amal takes on the task and spends most of the free time with Charulata and philosophical-literary conversations. In practice, he leads the way with his own verse as an example, and yet when he tries to get her to write, she is hesitant. In the garden of the house, Charulata discovers her sudden emotional freedom and her affection for Amal. Amal ambitiously strives to have his notes published.

Bhupati gives Amal a marriage offer (daughter of a lawyer), to which Amal reacts unwillingly. Charulata is very enthusiastic, probably in the hope of being able to live together as a large family in the house of his older brother Bhupati. His brother tries to make Amal more palatable by promising him a stay abroad paid for by his future father-in-law. They tell stories about everything that could be seen in Europe, but Amal gives Bengal priority.

Spurred on by the successful publication of Amal's notes, she secretly pens herself and has her memoirs published in the form of a short story.

Bhupati celebrates the Liberal victory in a British general election with like-minded people. He is convinced that they would not have had a chance without the lectures by their compatriot Raja Ram Mohan Roy , which is why Roy should actually be celebrated. At the same time, Amal and Charulata ponder how many Bengali go abroad and that Bristol (note: where Ram Mohan Roy died) is so far away. Meanwhile, Charulata's brother leaves with his wife on a pretext. Bhupati is hailed by his political friends for his wife's literary publication (whom he knew nothing about). The next day, Bhupati discovers that his brother-in-law as authorized signatory has embezzled massive amounts of money and ruined his publishing house.

Amal secretly leaves the house at night because he has noticed that Charulata has fallen in love with him through the intensive care and that he does not want to hurt his brother. Charulata is appalled by the news. When a letter from Amal later reveals his whereabouts and sees Bhupati Charulata crying terribly, he notices her true feelings for Amal and he leaves the house.

After days, Bhupati returns and hesitantly shakes hands with Charulata.


Charulata was released on April 17, 1964.

Of all his films, Satyajit Ray was the most satisfied with Charulata. Although the Western audience, as is so often the case with films from other cultures, loses part of the associations without any cultural background knowledge, this film is quite understandable. The opening sequence, in which Charulata's inner emotional world - her loneliness and boredom - is depicted, is one of the highlights of the work. Likewise, the only real open-air scene: Amal and Charulata in the garden - they are liberated and happy but staggering emotionally, which is symbolized by a long camera stay on a swing with Charulata.


“The political aspects of the story take a back seat to the psychological ones. Characterized by the commitment to truth, honesty and mutual trust, the film conveys a serious statement about the nature of human relationships. "

“A monumental triangular story that ends honorably, a handicraft museum piece already today. The lonely woman is an elegant Indian woman, neglected by her husband, who only has the publication of his newspaper and politics in his head: she spends her days in humility and boredom. Until her husband's brother shows up, a poet. She is infected by his lust for life, she longs for something else. But before it comes to that, the husband thinks about it and the poet leaves again. Ray staged it with inexhaustible patience, he doesn't let any nuance of the marriage drama that is only slowly developing and then not taking place pass by. Since the film is set at the turn of the century, you at least learn something about the Bengali fashion and interior design of the time. "

- Uwe Nettelbeck in the period from July 9, 1965

“The professional and marital problems of an Indian newspaper publisher in a broad, human representation that gains its magic from the great calm that this film exudes. A human gain for viewers 16 and over. "


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from December 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Charulata - the lonely woman. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed January 27, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. ^ The Berlin Film Festival in the year zero . In: Die Zeit , No. 28/1965
  4. Review No. 271/1965