Nagarik (নাগরিক),also spelled as Nagorik, The Citizen in English, was the first full length feature-film directed by Bengali Indian director Ritwik Ghatak. Completed in 1953, it preceded Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali as perhaps, the first example of an art film in Bengali, but is deprived of that honor, since it was released twenty-four years later, after Ghatak's death. On September 20, 1977, it finally premiered at the New Empire theatre in Kolkata, India. Ritwik Ghatak only completed eight feature films, but is generally regarded as one of the few truly original Indian talents in cinema by directors such as Satyajit Ray and critics such as Derek Malcolm.
Ramu, a fresh graduate is searching for a job like many others in post-Partition Kolkata. He lives in a lower-middle class neighborhood with his mother, father, and sister. Ramu's sister, Seeta, is dressed up and paraded in front of prospective in-laws who humiliatingly examine her. The mother is yearnful of older times when the family used to live in a better house, but she bears her suffering quietly, for the most part. The father is myopic and full of cynicism for he does not share the idealistic aspirations of his two children that better times will come. The light of Ramu's life is his girlfriend Uma, who lives in an equally precarious situation with her sister Shephali and her mother. Jatin is an even poorer minor character living hear Uma's dwelling who Ramu avoids because he cannot help the former out financially. To make ends meet, Ramu's mother takes in Sagar, a poor chemist, as a paying guest. Ramu does not get a job and cannot pay rent even with the meagre money that he gets from Sagar and is insulted by the landlord. Ultimately the family is evicted.
Just before the family has to leave to go stay in slums, Ramu visits Uma and tells him they are moving. Uma offers to help them set up in the new dwelling, an obvious sign of humanism on Ghatak's part. Shephali, her sister, cannot bear to live in poverty any longer, so she leaves home with a shady man. Seeta confesses that she loves Sagar, a love that Sagar reciprocates. However, Sagar, is now rendered homeless and destitute and mentions that he does not have the audacity to expect them to even be united. Ramu overhears parts of Sagar and Uma's conversation and is touched by the moment. He appeals to Sagar for him to come and live with the family. The film ends with the characters walking out in the rain, a symbolic sign of hope and renewal.
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