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a film by suman mukhopadhyay

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synopsis

chaturanga (four chapters)

Chaturanga is the story of a love that is caught between conflicting worlds of ideas.

The lead protagonist Sachish fleets from radical positivism to religious mysticism in his quest for life's meaning. However, his search ultimately yields nothing but crushing disillusionment. This is because he cannot square his abstract ideals with the powerful presences of two women in his life. One of them is Damini, a young Hindu widow, and the other is Nanibala, the abandoned mistress of Sachish's own brother.

Sachish tries to convince himself that Nanibala is simply a helpless woman who needs to be 'rescued' by him. Similarly, during his later religious phase, he pretends that the widow Damini is merely an enticement of Nature that must be avoided at all costs for spiritual salvation.

Chaturanga thus becomes, after a point, a psychodrama of unbelievable cruelty. Nanibala becomes a victim of it because as a 'fallen woman' she can only be 'saved', but her humanity cannot be recognized.

Damini is first given away by her dying husband, along with all her property, to a religious guru. She then falls in love with Sachish who can accept her only without her sexuality. Set in Colonial Bengal at the turn of the twentieth century, the film weaves a rich tapestry of crisscrossing desires and moralities.

Based on the novel by the Nobel Prize winning author Rabindranath Tagore, Chaturanga is directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay, one of the most exciting and promising young filmmakers working in India at present.

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