The muse of the Master

Published on March 17, 2015 13:27:40 PM
"Phoole phoole dhole dhole
Bohey kiba mridu bay”
(a touch of sweetness in the breeze that softly cradles buds today….)

a gorgeous lady, singing in abandon in a swing in the environs of a lush garden and slowly seeing the state of her through an opera glass is a scene etched in our memory, especially in the minds of all film aficanados.The film was Charulata,the director was Satyajit Ray and the lady who lived that character was Madhabi Mukherjee.she achieved a cult status through that one film, what one couldn’t get even after appearing a ton of movies. She was the �?Charu’ of the Bard of Bengal chiseled into a great piece of art in the hands of Satyajit Ray.
Madhabi Mukherjee started her career with Baishe shrabon in 1960, a' forgettable' debut of Mrinal sen, in his own words. But her career took a turn for better when she played a middle class housewife who steps into the world for the sustenance of her family as her husband loses his job, in the film Mahanagar, in 1963. It was a path –breaking movie, in Indian cinema as it for the first time, cast women as enterprising not serenading with the hero, nor shedding gallons of tears.
Then came her great triumph in 1964 with the iconic Charulatha, where she played the lonely, literature loving housewife of a wealthy, idealist husband. The mental truma, the dullness of life of an affluent aristocracy of 1870’s Bengal was brought out by Ray with such telling detail and vigour,and Madhabi was the central point of the story originally named �?Nosto Nir’(broken nest) ,by Tagore, when he wrote it.
It is said that Ray, impressed by Madhabi in Mahanagar, wrote his treatment of the script for the movie having Madhabi in mind. She won rave reviews for her acting depth in that movie and became a respected artiste in India.
Though she acted and still appears in guest roles in Bengal movies, she remains and will remain as the eternal muse of the master craftsmen.