Setting out in the Real World isn’t a Cakewalk: On Satyajit Ray’s Timeless ‘Mahanagar’ (1963)

My essay on the timeless omnibus of legendary filmmaker SATYAJIT RAY and his era traversing modern tale MAHANAGAR (BIG CITY, 1963) has been published in the excellently collected latest issue of CAFE DISSENSUS.

SO do read it, share your thoughts and spread the word. The link to the published essay is below.

2 thoughts on “Setting out in the Real World isn’t a Cakewalk: On Satyajit Ray’s Timeless ‘Mahanagar’ (1963)

  1. A VERY captivating film review, PJ, with your usual depth of intelligence coupled with your fierce seeking of the deeper truth. I have never seen the film, but you captivate it for me. What can we make of “family,” especially our own families? I think you hit the nail on the head when you said: “Humans are flawed, even the best among us.” Indeed, indeed, INDEED! But what do we do with that? How do we become “unflawed?” We don’t! We accept that we are flawed and we always will be, no matter what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, think or don’t think, feel or don’t feel. And this is certainly “even the best among us” (maybe even MORE “the best among us” because with more of the best, the more we stand to be the worst). Families are flawed. The whole notion of a “dysfunctional family” makes NO SENSE to me because I have never met a “functional family.” How can that even be so if humans are flawed? It’s IMPOSSIBLE! The characters in this film sound flawed, even the best among them, and it sounds to me that they are doing the very best with these flaws. I think it’s when we expect perfection, in AND out of the family, that we set us up for the worst (or worse). Achieving perfection is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE if one is flawed. And we ARE flawed and, of course, we’re NOT perfect. But why do so many us try to be perfect? Where did we learn to want this? I blame society, for one. I blame the entire structure of the world that tells us we MUST succeed and we MUST be happy and we MUST not ever stop from getting what we want. WOW! Who could possibly measure up to all that, especially one who is flawed? I’m not gonna get all “Jesusy” on you (at least not much), but that Jesus Christ IS the ONLY one who was/is NOT flawed; He is All Perfection, All The Time, Always, and Forever More. That’s it! That’s all! No more and no less than that Jesus! So, what I try to do is be the Perfection of Jesus Christ, the whole “what would Jesus do?” Do I do any of that “what would Jesus do” perfectly? Pardon the pun, but HELL NO! But I try to be perfect! I try to wrestle satisfaction out of this world. I try to get approval from man. And I try…and I try…AND I TRY!!!! And it’s EXHAUSTING! Can I ever just stop trying so hard to be perfect, accept all my flaws, and accept that others are flawed, as well, and not expect so much from them….or especially myself? It sounds like the characters in this film are US in all those flaws! And I do think “family” in this day and age is different….and I personally think that’s good (but don’t tell my Christian friends I said that). Two men marrying and raising a baby. A colored/white /brown/rainbow woman and a colored/white/brown/rainbow man adopting a colored/white/brown/rainbow child. Two women of no color marrying and choosing to have no kids of any color! LOL! I’m sure I left some of “that’s good” out. But no matter the family in no matter the different, there is ALWAYS going to be dysfunction. Why? Because “humans are flawed, even the best among us.” How do I know this? Because I am one flawed human! 😉

    Keep writing, PJ. You’re really good at this….duh!😁

    Love and blessings, “huckleberry friend,”
    Timothy (Mr. T)


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