|Directed by||Satyajit Ray|
|Produced by||R. D. Banshal|
|Screenplay by||Satyajit Ray|
by Narendranath Mitra
|Studio||R.D.Banshal & Co.|
|Distributed by||Edward Harrison (US)|
|Running time||131 minutes|
Mahanagar (Bengali: মহানগর, Mahānagar; English: The Big City) is a 1963 film directed by Satyajit Ray. Based on a short story, Abataranika by Narendranath Mitra, it narrates the story of a housewife who disconcerts her traditionalist family by getting a job as a saleswoman. It marks the first screen appearance of Jaya Bhaduri (now Jaya Bachchan), who later went on to become one of Bollywood's leading actresses.
Set in Calcutta during the 1950s Mahanagar explores the evolving independence of middle-class women of the city. Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee), a home maker, takes up a job as a door-to-door saleswoman to meet the increasing financial pressure on her family. Despite familial adversity and societal obstacles the initially hesitant and nervous Arati soon begins to prosper in her field and gradually starts to enjoy her new-found financial and psychological independence. Her initially supportive husband, Subrata (Anil Chatterjee), who now starts to feel insecure decides to ask Arati to quit but is finally forced to let her continue to work once he loses his job. Arati now becomes the sole breadwinner of the family and also befriends an English-speaking, Anglo-Indian (representative of the legacy of the British Raj) colleague Edith (Vicky Redwood), a move which raises suspicion and increases conflict within her family.
Satyajit Ray won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 14th Berlin International Film Festival in 1964. Upon its delayed (1968) release in the United States, it drew praise from Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael and others. The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 36th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. The film won All India Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film in 1963 at 11th National Film Awards.
- Andrew Robinson -Satyajit Ray: the inner eye 1989 -- p149 "She was like someone I had seen,' says Madhabi Mukherjee of her wonderfully expressive performance as Arati in Mahanagar, which Ray shot in the first half of 1963. This is his first examination of more or less contemporary Calcutta, ..."
- Marie Seton - Portrait of a Director: Satyajit Ray -2003 p 233 "The two sisters, Anime and Monisha, and Gulabi, are a distinct contrast from the more traditional Indian women in Ray's earlier films. But in Mahanagar, Arati is not only the central character but a woman, as Chidananda Das Gupta observed, ..."
- "Berlinale 1964: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- "11th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Retrieved September 13, 2011.