Apur Sansar aka The World of Apu, written by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay and Satyajit Ray, the latter is also directing the film
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is the last, but not least of the parts of The Apu Trilogy.
It has been included by TIME Magazine on the All-TIME 100 Movies list, available here:
The film is indeed an exceptional work of art.
It is a worthy epilogue of the life of a tragic figure.
In the previous installments, we have seen Apu loose everyone around him, in a seemingly never ending list:
- First his sister, then his father and finally his mother
The orphan has grown and is now an intellectual, fond of literature and an aspiring writer himself, as he explains to his friend Pulu:
“Pulu: So are you writing anything? What are you writing?
Apurba Roy: A wonderful novel.
Pulu: And you've kept it mum all this time?
Apurba Roy: You know a good publisher?
Pulu: All in good time.
Apurba Roy: Listen to this: a young boy. A young boy. A village boy. Poor but sensitive. His father's a priest. The father dies. The boy comes to the city. He doesn't want to be a priest. He'll study. He's ambitious. He studies. Through his education and struggles, we watch as he sheds his old superstitions and fixed views. He questions everything and takes nothing on trust. Yet he has imagination and sensitivity. Little things move him and bring him joy. Perhaps he has greatness in him, the ability to create, but...
Pulu: He doesn't make it.
Apurba Roy: That's right. But it doesn't end there. It's not a tragedy. He does nothing great. He remains poor, in want. But he never turns away from life. He doesn't run away. He wants to live. He says living itself brings fulfillment and joy. He wants to live!”
I thought this film is a masterpiece, dealing with important themes like:
- Meaning of life, art and poetry, rich versus poor, intellectual facing the illiterate, love and loss of loved ones…
In some memorable scenes, Apu is reciting to his friend and talks about matters of the heart, spirit and self.
He says he is
- “the son of the Himalayas, looking for his lost wings”
- Then about a “rapture of delight”, prison of the mind „and “the point of life: live it!”
I looked for the quotes to see who the author, the poet is but did not find them and so these are just words I think I remember.
Nevertheless, apart from the poetry of many scenes there is a plot that takes unexpected turns, when Apu travels to the home of Pulu.
The family of the friend is much better off and they afford servants and a rich wedding set just as Apu is visiting.
Alas, on the day of the arranged ceremony, the groom to be has a breakdown and gets really crazy, to the chagrin and desperation of most of those involved.
Pulu and other relatives insist there is a solution, which would be the only way out, given that the ceremony has to take place:
- Apu, you have to be the groom
- Are you crazy?
- If you will not, the bride is cursed!
- You think this is a comedy and I am the fool?
- The wedding has to take place at the time that was established, otherwise there will be a disaster
Apu continues to protest and says he will not do such a mad thing, but then he relents and becomes married to the naïve, innocent Aparna.
In spite of this being even more outré than an arranged marriage, which is still the tradition in large parts of the world, the relationship seemed to work.
I was even tempted to say that finally, this man has escaped his fate and the series of horrible events that have punctuated his life this far.
And then another disaster strikes…