In this psychologically rich character study, written and directed by Satyajit Ray, Bengali film star Uttam Kumar draws on his real-world celebrity to play Arindam Mukherjee, a matinee idol on the brink of his first flop. When Mukherjee boards an overnight train to Delhi to accept an award, a journalist (Sharmila Tagore) approaches him seeking an exclusive interview, which initiates a conversation that sends the actor reeling down a path of self-examination. Seamlessly integrating rueful flashbacks and surreal dream sequences with the quietly revelatory stories of the train’s other passengers, The Hero is a graceful meditation on art, fame, and regret from one of world cinema’s most keenly perceptive filmmakers.
“Mr. Ray, best known for his Apu trilogy, handles the proceedings with formidable deftness marked by a penetrating vision of performers and film-making.” New York Times
“A compelling, sensitive and impeccably made work, one whose lively collection of secondary characters and sub-plots are worth the admission price alone.” Cine Outsider
“a slyly self-reflexive commentary on contemporaneous Bengali filmmaking—both commercially popular films as well as his own more modest style of “parallel cinema”—couched in ever-shifting layers of irony and moral complexity. Those qualities extend to the film’s very title, which not only suggests the almost godlike proficiency of the leading man in a Bollywood production (a trait that comes under Ray’s scrutiny), but also serves as a matter-of-fact job description in moviemaking parlance. And it’s precisely that industrial, supply-and-demand aspect of film production that’s on the minds of several characters in The Hero.” – Slant
“The great originality of this movie is the fact that it takes place almost entirely on the train, which thus clearly becomes a (classic) metaphorical medium to express the transformations that will take place during the film. The movie’s train accomplishes naturally more than one travel only! On board the sexy and successful Arindam will have to brush his “heroism” against a number of observers and admirers who will all serve as tests: what’s this hero worth? And in fact, what is a hero (today we’d say a star)? What’s inside and what’s outside? Why do we have “heroes”? Do they serve any important purpose? What does this popularity mean? Satyajit Ray, I believe, asks all these questions, and his movie answers them.” Let’s Talk About Bollywood
- 11/24 | 7:00PM