India. 146 min. 1984
Three friends from the city visit some ruins where an aged mother (Gita Sen) and her daughter Jamini (Shabana Azmi) live. Mother awaits the arrival of a distant cousin to marry Jamini, but the man is already married and living in Calcutta. The photographer Subhash (Naseeruddin Shah) takes pity on the family and pretends to be the awaited suitor. They keep up the charade for the duration of the trio’s visit, Subhash quietly becoming attracted to Jamini even as he understands the fate awaiting her. When the friends leave, Jamini stays behind, facing a life of loneliness in the ruins.
Mrinal Sen (14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018) was an Indian Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. He is considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century. Like the works of Ray and Ghatak, his cinema was known for its artistic depiction of social reality. Although the three directors shared a healthy rivalry, they were ardent admirers of each other’s work, and in so doing, they charted the independent trajectory of parallel cinema, as a counterpoint to the mainstream fare of Hindi cinema in India. Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy.