If you have only seen Bollywood films then you haven’t seen all that Indian cinema has to offer. In 1955 director Satyajit Ray introduced realism to India with the film Pather Panchali. In 1958 he produced another good realist film called The Music Room. The film is basically an Indian version of the Italian film The Leopard (1963). It’s about a zambindar, a semi-feudal landlord in Bengal, who is watching his old world slip away as the river nearby slowly floods his land, claims his family, and acts as a metaphor for the erosion of his influence in the face of modernization. If that last sentence wasn’t enough for you then you might want to know why the film is called The Music Room. That’s because it is the center of the house where the zamindar invites the neighbors to remind them that he is above them. It is this room that slowly decays and is representative of his decaying position in his world.

This film is a bit of challenge, but it’s worth seeing.

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