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The Big City review

Satyajit Ray 1963 film is a feminist delight

The first of Indian auteur Satyajit Ray’s films to be set in modern-day Calcutta, The Big City (1963) centres on a young bank clerk (Anil Chatterjee) who reluctantly lets his wife (Madhabi Mukherjee) go out to work for the first time.

Initially dismayed at the prospect, she finds that she loves her job and is very good at it.

Quietly satirising conventional Bengali attitudes – the wife’s father-in-law (Haren Chatterjee), an elderly Brahmin, is scandalised – Ray draws from Mukherjee a performance of delectable subtlety as she comes to recognise her moral and financial independence.

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