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Sonar Kella

A young boy becomes a target for crooks, after he claims to remember his past life and mentions precious jewels in a golden fortress.

Satyajt Ray has always been revered at home and abroad as a true maestro but (especially in the West) it has been his serious cinema that have been the focus of all adulation and admiration. It is little known outside of his native Bengali community his equal brilliance at writing short stories and novels for children, including the creation of two of Bengali modern literature's most loved characters - Feluda and Professor Shonku.It is in this first screen adaption of one of his popular Feluda stories - Sonar Kella, that we see how far the man's creative dexterity really extended. I remember seeing this film when very young and till date it remains evergreen in my memory, so much so that when I think back on the very many memorable moments from it, my subconscious extracts images from how it appeared on the cinema screen, rather than on TV - this in-spite of numerous repeat viewings on broadcast,video and now DVD. That is saying a lot for the indelible first impressions that this movie made on me.Like most great directors, Ray was blessed with a special empathy and "connect" that enabled him to extract remarkably natural performances from children, even very young ones - this is never more manifest in any of his other movies(with the notable exception of his first - The Song of the Road), especially in the scene when a child actor, playing a bit part, recounts his experiences while being mistakenly kidnapped and held captive instead of the main protagonist - completely mindblowingly natural. Apart from the great background score (composed by ray himself),technical polish,perfect casting,great performances,superb editing and cinematography, this film stands out for the outstanding,larger than life portrayal of the state of Rajasthan(almost like a character) and it's unique natural beauty and romanticism,characterized by deserts,camels,forts,peacocks,steam engines,mystery men and vibrant colours. This lent the movie a Hollywood summer blockbuster action/adventure sheen, which has never before or since been achieved in Bengali cinema. Brilliant!!!
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