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355 Ratings

The Big City


Directed by Satyajit Ray
India, 1963


The Big City (Mahanagar), set in mid-1950s Calcutta and directed by the great Satyajit Ray, follows the personal triumphs and frustrations of Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee), who decides, despite the initial protests of her bank-clerk husband, to take a job to help support their family.

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The Big City Directed by Satyajit Ray
Based on a short story by Narendranath Mitra, Ray’s 1963 film The Big City is a perfect jumping-off point. On the one hand, it tells a relatable story about fear and courage, with a loveable protagonist; on the other, it feels unique and fresh, offering a female point-of-view on issues such as money, labour and justice in 1960s Calcutta.
May 03, 2017
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Ray perches the film on the front lines of history, and he captures with visual incisiveness and dramatic precision the vast political implications of intimate changes. Part of that power is derived from the city itself, where rounds of unexpected encounters and overlapping relationships give minor impacts major echoes.
April 08, 2015
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Ray, as always, locates and follows the pulse of working-class life with a wholly respectful and unsentimental eye for details and a canny ear for family talk… The way the filmmaker is able to fluidly expand from an intimate matter of family finances to matters of workplace politics, social value, and misguided nationalism is never less than fascinatingly detailed.
August 22, 2013
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