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German title Ganashatru
Original title গণশত্রু
Country of production India
original language Bengali
Publishing year 1989
length 95 minutes
Director Satyajit Ray
script Satyajit Ray
production National Film Development Corporation
music Satyajit Ray
camera Barun Raha
cut Dulal Dutta

Ganashatru ( Bengali : গণশত্রু , Gaṇaśatru ; translated: An Enemy of the People ) is an Indian feature film by Satyajit Ray from 1989. It was based on the play An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen .


In the Bengali town of Chandipur, the main attraction is a temple that stands in the middle of the most densely populated part of town. The chief physician of the city hospital Dr. Ashoke Gupta, the mayor's brother, has noticed a rapid increase in hepatitis A , typhoid and gastritis cases in the area and has sent a water sample to Kolkata for testing . He has already reported his observations to a local newspaper in order to warn the population.

Dr. Gupta finds his suspicion confirmed by the results of the laboratory tests and assumes that the broken water pipes mix sewage and drinking water and that the germs also threaten the believers in the temple itself. Gupta is assured of support from newspaper editor Haridas, but Gupta points out that local politicians make good money from temple tourism and would therefore take action against negative news.

Gupta's brother comes by with the head of the temple and they complain that the "holy water" ( Charanamrita ) of the temple is in a bad light, even though it has been cleaned with tulsi leaves. Brother Nisith asks him to keep the report a secret, as the costs and effort for the city are too high and the city's reputation is being damaged. When Ashoke shows him that it has already been published in the newspaper, he is furious and asks him to make a public reply, or he will face the consequences. Ashoke's wife is concerned about the development, knowing her husband's stubbornness in matters of principle, as well as the character of her brother-in-law. Ashoke is determined not to hide the truth.

Ashoke wrote an essay for the newspaper calling for the temple to be closed. There are pros and cons in the editorial office. When Mayor Nisith comes and wants to have a revocation published by the city administration, the editor gives in. Nisith threatens serious consequences if his brother's essay is published. Ashoke and Nisith explain the fight to each other. Nisith insists that even if an epidemic broke out, it wouldn't be because of the temple's "holy water". Ashoke invites to a public meeting by posting a poster.

The editor, the newspaper publisher and the mayor also appear at the meeting, and they finally seize the action. They try to discredit Ashoke Gupta by making him admit that they have not visited the temple once in the past ten years and that they are not a staunch Hindu . Dr. Gupta has no chance against the rhetorical superiority of his politically experienced brother and the masses are incited against him. The windows of his apartment are smashed, his landlord asks him to move out, his daughter loses her job as a teacher and, finally, Dr. Gupta left the city hospital. He is called "Ganashatru" ( Bengali for enemy of the people ).

When he wants to resign, Biresh, his future son-in-law, appears with an editor of the newspaper who has quit his job out of conviction because of this matter and is now working as a freelance journalist. He offers him to publish an interview in a newspaper in Kolkata, thereby putting pressure on from outside. Outside the house, young people are chanting: Long live Ashoke Gupta!


Satyajit Ray has reworked Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name for Indian conditions and made a typical problem of the country the subject. After Ray suffered a heart attack while filming Das Heim und die Welt and then suffered from poor health in the 1980s and had to cut back on his film work, this film and the two that followed were shot almost exclusively in the studio. The film ultimately suffers from this limitation. Despite good acting performances and the explosive complex of topics around financial interests, religious fanaticism, lax attitude to hygiene problems and the controversies of truth-lies and idealism-realism, he seems a bit stiff and theatrical.

Ganashatru was released in Indian cinemas on January 19, 1990.

Ray's film Devi was set in the same location in Chandipur .


“The film tells in a simple and clear style of a society whose morality is dictated by individual interests and superstitions. With a minimum of staff and locations, director Ray focuses on the underlying conflict between lies and truth. A convincing film of absolute purity and clarity. "


Individual evidence

  1. ^ His Career ( Memento of December 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Ganashatru. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed December 28, 2016 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 

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