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The Big City (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


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The Big City (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Charulata (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Music Room, The (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)
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Product Description

the big city (mahanagar), set in mid-1950s calcutta and directed by the great satyajit ray (the music room), 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. With remarkable sensitivity and attention to the details of everyday working-class life, ray gradually builds a powerful human drama that is at once a hopeful morality tale and a commentary on the identity of the contemporary indian woman. Special edition features � new 2k digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the blu-ray edition � new interview with actor madhabi mukherjee � satyajit ray and the modern woman, a new interview program featuring ray historian suranjan ganguly � the coward (1965), a feature film directed by ray that also addresses modern female identity and stars mukherjee and soumitra chatterjee � new english subtitle translation � plus: a booklet featuring an essay by scholar chandak sengoopta and an interview with ray from the 1980s by his biographer andrew robinson //

Special Features

special edition features, new 2k digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the blu-ray edition, new interview with actor madhabi mukherjee, satyajit ray and the modern woman, a new interview program featuring ray historian suranjan ganguly, the coward (1965), a feature film directed by ray that also addresses modern female identity and stars mukherjee and soumitra chatterjee, new english subtitle translation, plus: a booklet featuring an essay by scholar chandak sengoopta and an interview with ray from the 1980s by his biographer andrew robinson

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Underrated classic gets a stellar treatment Oct. 28 2013
By Sursubbu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
The story of Mahanagar aka The Big City is about how a conservative middle-class family in Calcutta is affected when financial circumstances require that the wife should also take up a job. The film looks at it from two aspects:
1) The impact on the other family members - the loving but traditional husband, his orthodox parents, the young child (They all have reservation to some extent, and the only unequivocal supporter is the husband's kid sister, who sees it as a projection of her own ambitions)
2) The changes in the woman herself - how she grows from a shy house-bound wife to a more confident worldly-wise person.

Without any arty pretensions, but with the sharpness of observation and empathy towards the characters which are his strongest assets, Ray paints a very tangible portrait of this little personal revolution in the traditional family. Of course he is here immensely aided by the marvelous chemistry between the gorgeous Madhabi Mukherjee and Anil Chatterjee - their husband-wife relationship is a very credible and heartwarming picture of romance and friendship, mischief and responsibility. While some reality-obsessed curmudgeons may find the film's end unduly optimistic, it is a very well-placed happy ending, representing the never-say-die spirit of hope over adversity that keeps humanity alive. Ray's touch is very much evident in the screenplay and the visuals - many times, more is conveyed than said, with the use of beautiful visual metaphor or plain restraint, allowing the sensibility of the audience to fill in the gap. For this film he also composed the score, which is lovely and worth hearing on its own. All in all, highly recommended.

Video-wise Criterion's blu-ray is sourced from another amazing restoration (taking a 2K scan of the original negative) from RD Bansal / Pixion (Chennai). Sometimes, the brightness levels seem very high, although there are no blown whites; it might have something to do with the intended look or the shooting conditions. The encode itself is excellent to mine eye, with no apparent digital artefacts. The mono sound is clear and robust and the music comes across quite nicely. I have not seen Kapurush, the short feature presented as an extra on this disc, but the other stuff is quite nice - a critic's video essay talking about the film, Madhabi Mukherjee reflecting on her experience, a Films Division short by BD Garga on Satyajit ray, which briefly looks at the shooting of Mahanagar.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Well worth watching Nov. 9 2013
By Al Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Prior to Criterion restoring the film it was almost hard to look at due to sparkles. Now it is as good as new. It is a wonderful story about women entering the work world in a society that frowns upon it, and about a husbands support in the face of criticism from parents and society. Satyajit Ray is considered one of the worlds greatest directors, so I have tried to see as many of them as I could and consider this one the best of all. The 5 extra items on the dvd are all worth watching too. The only negative is that the English subtitles for the ending scene were changed and lose the emotional punch that the original subtitles presented.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
overwhelming Sept. 8 2013
By Paul Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I was In India on my 5th trip in 3 years recently when this was shown to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its release. For me I was at the end of a long journey when I happened to catch this on a great screen in my hotel. I think in many ways it is the most astonishing film I have ever seen. Precisely because of what one previous reviewer says is Rays' inimitable gifts at catching the emotions of people close up without have to use any words. I found it particularly intense as my tours have all been musical in nature and the entire way that I go about interacting with people has been without words. A feat that has been surprisingly easy to access.
However, to see Ray capture the heart and humanity of so many of the Indian people I have been fortunate to interact with was too much emotionally for me. I couldn't make it to the end, as the scene in the coffee shop was so intense (imagining the pain of the husband hearing his wife's description of his job) I just couldn't bare the emotional intensity anymore.
His own music composed for the film ,beautiful and sparingly applied ,reminds me of the sensitive and subtle ways that so much of the food in India is so delicately spiced and is perfect in a way that no soundtrack I have participated in equals. Having created or played in the soundtracks of over 90 major motion pictures I don't think I have ever sensed such a perfect wedding of cinematic views with music .
A revelation, as my love for film has always been huge, it actually made me plan to visit the school that is dedicated to his films and teaching, to perform and also to learn more on how to craft films myself as I now am lucky enough to have a pro level dslr and requisite equipment.
As much as certain films can be the lynchpin for those wanting to delve deeper into this field, the humanistic and deep sensitivity of Rays vision in this film will I hope be as moving for you as it was for me. (and I intend to purchase so that I can watch the rest of it!).
Also , as I am in love with the colors of India (among many other aspects),though at times (frequently) this can also be overwhelming,,by creating this in b/w with the grainy aspect of film of the period ,it actually makes it in a different way ,,even more deep and colorful !

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