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The Lonely Wife (Charulata) (U)

20-24 August

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  • A Autism friendly
  • C Captioned
  • D Dementia friendly


Satyajit Ray’s own favourite of his films, set in late 19th century Bengal, boasts a marvellously vital Victorian heroine: Charulata, spellbindingly portrayed by Madhabi Mukherjee, is beautiful, intellectual and dangerously bored.

Racing from window to window in her vast, ornate mansion, Charulata spies hungrily on the outside world through opera glasses. Her wealthy husband, the high-minded editor of a political journal, is too preoccupied with the latest tax legislation and the forthcoming English election (Disraeli v Gladstone) to pay much attention to his wife. Somewhat unwisely, he invites his charming younger cousin Amal, a would-be poet, to keep her company and encourage her literary talent. This is a household of seething, suppressed emotions, subtly revealed by Subrata Mitra’s eloquent camera. A richly atmospheric soundtrack evokes the wider world, while Ray’s wistful score and the romantic songs beloved of Charulata and Amal heighten the sense of longing. Exquisitely adapted from a novella by Rabindranath Tagore, Charulata was described by its director as ‘the one film I would make the same way if I had to do it again’. This ravishing restoration does justice to its perfection.

Cinemasters: Satyajit Ray

This film is screening as part of our Cinemasters: Satyajit Ray season. If you're keen to discover more of the director's masterful work, click here to check out the rest of the programme.

Explore the Programme

  • Director Satyajit Ray
  • Cast Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhavi Mukherjee, Shailen Mukherjee
  • Country India
  • Year of Production 1964
  • Running Time 1h57m
  • Language Bengali and English with English subtitles
  • Certificate U
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