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5 Bengali films in which jewellery plays a key role

These movies have been directed by Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha, Rituparno Ghosh, Aparna Sen and Sekhar Das

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 22.10.22, 05:08 PM
Moushumi Chatterjee as Rashmoni in Goynar Baksho

Moushumi Chatterjee as Rashmoni in Goynar Baksho SVF

Jewellery has found a place of prominence in Bengali films over the years. In Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali, Binodini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a young widow, yearned to wear gold ornaments, which Ashalata (Raima Sen) so casually adorned. On the occasion of Dhanteras, we revisit five Bengali films that revolve around ornate pieces of jewellery.

Monihara (1961)

Directed by Satyajit Ray, Monihara is the second part of the anthology film Teen Kanya. Based on a short story written by Rabindranath Tagore, Monihara is a supernatural thriller starring Kali Banerjee, Kanika Majumdar, and Kumar Roy.

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The story revolves around Manimalika (Kanika Majumdar), who has an unusual fascination for gold ornaments. Her husband, Phanibhushan (Kali Banerjee) gifts her exquisite pieces of jewellery as a mark of his love. At one point, Phanibhushan runs into debt and travels to Kolkata to arrange funds for his business. Manimalika fears that Phanibhushan might sell her jewellery to fix his finances. She runs away from the mansion in the dark of night, taking all her ornaments with her, but loses her life in an accident.

Upon his return, Phanibhushan learns about Manimalika’s escape. But he came home with a new piece of jewellery for his dear wife. The story takes a supernatural turn, as Manimalika’s spirit comes back to claim her last gift. The gothic mansion, eerie atmospherics, and the climax make Monihara one of the most spine-chilling movies made in Bengali.

Baidurya Rahasya (1985)

Tapan Sinha’s mystery thriller Baidurya Rahasya is the perfect potboiler. Starring Basanta Choudhury, Manoj Mitra, Moon Moon Sen and Tapas Pal, the film revolves around an invaluable gem, which is stolen from a Krishna temple on an island. The lost emerald was insured for Rs 8 lakh. A private detective, appointed by the insurance company, begins investigation into the theft. This triggers a web of deceit. Secrets hidden thus far come to the fore as the probe progresses. Conspiracies are hatched, and mysterious persons are seen loitering on the island. Ultimately, the discovery of the lost jewel leads to a can of worms within the temple administration.

Hirer Angti (1992)

Hirer Angti is Rituparno Ghosh’s first directorial venture. Based on a story of the same name by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, the film stars Basanta Choudhury, Ayan Banerjee, Sumanta Mukherjee and Moon Moon Sen. The arrival of Gandharva Kumar (Ayan Banerjee) at Ratanlal Banerjee’s (Basanta Choudhury) house disrupts the festive mood of Durga Puja. Gandharva claims to be the real owner of Ratanlal’s property. As past secrets tumble out of the closet, Gandharva wins over Habul and Tinni, the children of the household, with his tricks. A diamond ring, which is the mark of Gandharva’s identity, is at the heart of this drama.

Necklace (2011)

Directed by Sekhar Das, this social satire stars Rituparna Sengupta, Locket Chatterjee, Rudranil Ghosh and Ritwick Chakraborty in key roles. Buoyed by his promotion at office, Biswanath (Ritwick Chakraborty), a chartered accountant, buys a beautiful necklace for his wife Sikha (Rituparna Sengupta). A burglar named Keshtopada (Rudranil Ghosh) steals the piece of jewellery on the same night. Later, Sikha and Biswanath discover Keshto’s wife Kanak (Locket Chatterjee) sporting the necklace, and the latter claims ownership of it. The bewildering situation and the predicament of the two couples add a dash of comedy to the mix.

Goynar Baksho (2013)

Based on a novel of the same name by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Goynar Baksho tells the story of Rashmoni, a widow who is too fond of her jewellery. Directed by Aparna Sen, the film stars Moushumi Chatterjee, Konkona Sen Sharma and Saswata Chatterjee in key roles. Widowed at a young age, Rashmoni (Moushumi) lives at her parents’ house like an appendage. Having lost her right to wear coloured clothes, she holds on to her jewellery as her only source of happiness. Her family members fail to understand her obsession. After she passes away, her spirit lingers on to protect her prized possessions. Her ghost haunts her nephew’s wife Somlata (Konkona), who now has the jewellery.

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