Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Cloud-Capped Star (1960)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, India) (aka Meghe Dhaka Tara)

In Ritwik Ghatak's tragic melodramatic musical, set in the late 1950s outside of post-partition Calcutta (Kolkata), India, about a struggling, impoverished Bengali family, refugees from East Pakistan - and functioning as a critique of the institution of the family, and as a painful allegory about the traumatic consequences of the partition of Bengal:

  • the exquisitely-filmed moment of singing under speckles of light shining through lattice-work - a duet of a sorrowful Rabindranath Tagore poem, first seen being performed solely by the family's oldest lazy and irresponsible son Shankar (Anil Chatterjee) - an aspiring singer who had just found work and was about to depart from home; with a shift of camera angles, he was seen to be joined by another - sitting side by side with his self-sacrificing, wrongly-treated, exploited, subjugated and despairing older sister Nita (Supriya Choudhury); the song ended with her despairing head leaning backwards and then collapsing in tears
  • the dutiful heroine had given up all of her own life's opportunities (a college Master's degree program) to take a lowly job and function as the breadwinner, to support her uncaring, ungrateful and callous family (including her aging, weak-willed unemployed and hapless father (Bijon Bhattacharya) and manipulative selfish mother (Gita De), and three other children); ultimately, Nita lost her job, her fiancee and her health
Nita's Impassioned Plea to Shankar: "I Want to Live!"
  • in one of the final sequences, set on a hillside - Nita made an impassioned, agonized cry or plea to Shankar and the hills to let her live longer: (her final words: "I wanted to live! Tell me just once that I’ll live ... I want to live"); she fell into her brother's arms - suffering from a terminal case of tuberculosis

Shankar with Sister Nita Behind Lattice Work


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