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The World of Apu

Soumitra Chatterjee , Sharmila Tagore , Satyajit Ray    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 90.42
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If you ever feel like you've got it tough, watch the Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray. The World of Apu is the third story in Ray's magnum opus. And yes... things can get worse for our hero, Apu (Soumitra Chatterjee). By now it's the early 1930s, and Apu is a grown man. A dreamer and a writer like his long-dead father, Apu is working on a novel about his life.

When his best friend Pulu (Swapan Mukherjee) asks him to his sister's wedding, Apu has no idea that he'll be the one going home with the bride. Poor Aparna (Sharmila Tagore) is betrothed to an insane man and when his illness becomes apparent, the wedding is cancelled. But Aparna will be cursed unless another bridegroom is found. Apu, in a weak moment, agrees to marry Aparna in return for a job.

Then the unexpected happens. Aparna and Apu fall deeply in love. But will it last? Knowing Apu's luck in the past, the obvious answer is "no," and when Aparna dies in childbirth, Apu is left hating his son, Kajal. Finally, driven by guilt, Apu approaches his son, five years after the death of his beloved wife. Will they be able to salvage some happiness in an already too bleak life? You won't be disappointed in the outcome.

This last installment will leave you wishing Ray had made Apu IV. The music is by Ravi Shankar. --Luanne Brown

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
In Pather Panchali and Aparajito we watch Apu grow into manhood all while he seems to be very unaware of the exotic Indian women swirling about him in all their beauty. This contributes to the subtle humor when he finds himself in a situation where he must save a family's honor.
Apu's ancestral family home has been destroyed; he has lost his sister, father and mother and is now living alone next to a noisy railway. As he faces the realities of existence, he spends his time reading, playing a wooden flute and occasionally looking for work. His job prospects are disheartening at best. His optimism is reminiscent of his father's attitude to life and he is also becoming a writer. His beauty and artistic carefree spirit is always in danger of being funneled into a life of quiet desperation.
After reuniting with his childhood friend Pulu (Swapan Mukherjee), Apu attends a wedding in which he ends up having to make decisions that changes the entire course of his life. Aparna (Sharmila Tagore) and Apu fall in love and yet can we hope that Apu has found true happiness? All hopes are soon dashed as the unthinkable occurs.
As Apu dreams of publishing his own novel, his life plays out a story of impending doom. The scene where he lifts a child from a location close to a railroad is a foreshadowing of an event that soon takes place in his own life. Finally life throws him a challenge he is not willing to face. It takes times for Apu to process the tragedy in his life and finally he is overwhelmed by grief.
Although this movie is filled with tragedy, there are moments of humor. Apu's casual defiance when he turns on the lights amused me because I'm always turning on lights and my husband is always turning them off.
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By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Having lost his sister and his parents in the first two installments of "The Apu Trilogy," I made the mistake of thinking there was no one left for Apurba Roy (Soumitra Chatterjee) to lose, but Satyajit Ray proves in Apur Sansar ("The World of Apu") that such expectations are foolishness. At that start of this 1960 film Apu has left school before graduation, dreams about being a writer, and is three months behind in his rent, which forces him to sell some of his beloved books. Then Pulu (Swapan Mukherjee), an old college friend, convinces Apu to attend a village wedding. When the groom turns out to have gone insane because of the fasting and meditation in preparation for the wedding, Apu's friend suggests he become the groom so that the wedding can continue and the family's honor maintained. At first Apu dismisses the idea out of hand, but then relents because he does not want the young woman to be cursed forever, and gets married to the beautiful Aparna (14-year-old Sharmila Tagore).
The middle of the film shows the happy time when Apu and Aparna get to know each other and fall in love. Two people who were complete strangers become incredibly close as we see a simple romance that rings true in a way few in cinema ever have before or since. However, after all of the suffering and hard times we have endured to this point in the trilogy it is hard to believe that Apu has finally found happiness, and indeed tragedy follows. We are suddenly confronted with the sense that we have come full circle and that once again our hopes in this story have come down to the fate of one small boy.
Even after three films Ray's genius is in using the camera to show character. What is memorable in these films are always the moments, and not the dialogue.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a criminal treatment of a classic film Oct. 30 2003
By A. Roy
i'm questioning whether they did anything at all but take the existing vhs edition and simply transfer it to dvd. compared to the vhs edition, one can still find the same scratches and grainy picture quality, the same sub-par sound, and the same embarrassingly inaccurate subtitle translations.
regardless of anything and everything, however, one should walk the desert and cross the seven seas to see this movie. 'the world of apu' is a complex study of the artist, the role of economic conditions on the artist's life, and a commentary on india's traditional marriage system. and yet, with all these topical distinctions, the movie rarely fails to do anything but touch the heart - in light or in break - in the most primitive and simple way possible.
to put things into perspective, this movie encapsulates the most beloved director, actor, actress, and musician of the bengali speaking world in 1959. and in 2003, it is one of the most beloved movies of anyone and in anywhere in the world.
'the world of apu' is not only my personal favorite of the apu trilogy, but along with the stars, the moon, and the air that i breathe - it is one of my favorite things in the world.
criterion, are you out there?
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Format:VHS Tape
I'm hoping Amazon will place this review so that you read it before the others. Thus you might have a chance, despite Amazon's own over-revelatory review, of being surprised by the plot's twists. Surprise is, after all, one of the things for which artists strive - at least in my book. Having said that, I'll get on with it: The World of Apu is possibly one of this cinema buff's favorite films. Why? Because, along with consistently surprising, Ray reveals so much via oblique, subtle and sensual cues. Ray shares this knack with two of my other favorite directors, Marcel Pagnol and Jean Vigo. If cinema is a visual art yet exposition is a necessity less viewers retain too little engagement with the story and protagonists, Ray's work stands miles above the obvious and over-stated work of much modern, particularly Western, cinema. Indeed, some of Ray's power seems linked to his Eastern/Indian milieu. But Ray's facile intuitive chops are something else - the mark of a great artist. The real feast manifests when you watch this one after seeing the first two in the trilogy. Unforgettable.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential
The DVD release contains no extra features; the print quality is good; the movie is remarkable. Too bad Criterion didn't get the Apu Trilogy, but it is essential for film... Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004 by C. Rubin
4.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of the Indian Cinema
The Apu trilogy is compulsory viewing for whoever is seriously interested in foreign cinema. This is the touching story of Apu, an Indian boy, from small child to early adulthood. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Callas fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Love Story on Film ?
Let me break the suspense early .... this is just the most beautiful movie. It flows without a glitch and most of the time I forgot I was watching a movie. Read more
Published on May 21 2002 by A. Krishnan
5.0 out of 5 stars A true portrait of LIFE
Satyajit Ray is just perfect in this 1959 classic and the last of Apu Trilogy.
Leaving his disturbing past,Apu is now working in Calcutta. Read more
Published on May 18 2002 by Debabrata Ghatak
5.0 out of 5 stars Unequaled depiction of matrimonial love
We see a young couple getting up. Later they go to a movie. And then we know that they're in love in a way that has never been shown before (or after) in film history.
Published on Oct. 9 2000 by hauman
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply touching
In my opinion, this is the best of the Apu trilogy films. Such a delicate theme, so well portrayed, so well acted - Ray's genius touches every nerve in one's soul.
Published on March 3 2000 by Indradeep Ghosh
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of all time!
It is incredibly difficult to review any film by Satyavit Ray because he is an artist without peer...director, screen writer, composer. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lyrical ode to human helplessness
Man seeks to live on his own, but his conditionings does not allow him to. Opu (Apurba) is only too happy to live with and within himself, but the basic human passion called hunger... Read more
Published on Nov. 20 1998
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