With The Music Room (Jalsaghar), Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker. —The Criterion Collection
Satyajit Ray is one of cinema’s truest Renaissance men. In addition to his films, he is a reputed writer of short stories, a music composer (scores for his own films and other film-makers, notably Merchant-Ivory’s Shakespeare Wallah) and a painter and graphic designer of considerable skill. Appropriately enough, Ray derived from a background of great culture, the son of poet Sukumar Ray who died when he was three years old. His interest in fine arts, literature and painting led him to reside at Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan (an intellectual retreat for artists and thinkers) for a significant period of time. Ray’s true love however was the cinema. The cinema of 30s Hollywood, which included Fred Astaire musicals and comedies by Ernst Lubitsch; Russian films he devoured in repeated viewings at the Calcutta Film Society (which he co-founded in 1947) and later the Italian neorealist films which he discovered in London.
At the time of the Second World War, and the final period of… read more
A spellbinding portrait of an impoverished aristocrat who roams his decaying mansion like an Indian Charles Foster Kane. We are witness to his noble passion for music which both sustains and eventually destroys him. Directing with a poignant grace, Ray beautifully balances the sounds and images to show the gap between aspirations and material realities. A sensual delight and an essential masterpiece of world cinema..
Watch The Music Room. Then immediately watch it again. I tell you it will make a world of difference. For the first hour or so of the film I was rather lost, like the reviewer below, finding nothing… read review
The Music Room is a stunning masterpiece in black and white that is like a lavish painting on a sprawling canvas that pretty much portrays the story of India. It tells the story of a landlord in Bengal… read review