Set aboard a train full of colourful characters, Ray’s send-up of the Bengali film industry features a charismatic performance by one of its biggest stars, Uttam Kumar.
A departure for Ray in many ways, this wonderfully engaging comedy-drama features an original screenplay by the director (instead of his usual literary adaptations). It also stands out for the unusual casting of such a big star – who boldly satirises himself. Kumar is magnetic as Arindam Mukherjee, a vain, sensitive and troubled matinee idol travelling by train to collect an award in Delhi. When he meets an aloof journalist (the great Sharmila Tagore) who is unimpressed by his celebrity status, Mukherjee begins pouring out his life story. Witty dialogue, surreal dream sequences and a terrific supporting cast make for a memorable journey. Restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.