Mahanagar - How Ray Developed His Characters Through Eye Contact

By Yash Thakur. Posted on July 15, 2015

Ray's Mahanagar (1963) is arguably one of his finest films, where he upturns all our cliches about the traditional Indian woman. A video essay done by the popular site Fandor throws new light on how subtly Ray has constructed the evolving relationship between Arati and Subrata's characters in the film, just by the way they look at each other.

Arati, a middleclass housewife in '50s Calcutta takes up a door-to-door saleswoman's job to meet the financial pressure on her family. Though a conservative family, her initially supportive husband Subrata is soon enveloped with insecurities and suspicion. The video highlights the various points of eye contact between the husband and wife, charting their relationship & it's journey which goes from sweet to sour & back.

This attention to detail is what sets Ray apart from other directors. The video is a masterclass in character development & the art of storytelling.

Learning to Look: Eye Contact in Satyajit Ray's THE BIG CITY from Fandor Keyframe on Vimeo.


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