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The Big City (Mahanagar)
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Big City (Mahanagar), dir. Satyajit Ray, India 1963, 135 min., Bengali with English subtitles, PG

The first Satyajit Ray feature to be fully set in his native Kolkata, The Big City is one of the director’s finest films – a multi-layered, subtly political and hugely enjoyable cinematic tapestry tracking one woman’s quiet fight against a society that would rather she remained seen but not heard.

Subrata (Anil Chatterjee), a young bank clerk, might be struggling to support his extended family on a meagre salary – but he’s horrified when his wife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee, Ray’s longtime muse) dares to challenge his cherished belief that ‘a woman’s place is with her cooking pots’. Arati takes a job just as her husband appears at risk of losing his, upsetting the family dynamics at a moment of tremendous change in what was then a newly independent country. A hugely absorbing feature from a true master.

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

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