between the final two parts of Satyajit Ray's celebrated Apu trilogy, The Music Room depicts a
changing India, its society in flux with long-held privilege in decline and
threatened by new wealth.
Set in the late 1920s, it
follows decadent Bengali zamindar (landlord)
Biswambhar Roy (the beloved Chabi Biswas), an otherworldly man who prefers
spending time listening to music and dreaming of the past. His greatest joy is
the music room in his now dilapidated mansion, a shadow of its former self.
evoking the crumbling opulence of Roy's former world, Ray sets up incandescent
depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a ravishing
showcase for some of the most popular Indian musicians of the day.
defining work by Ray and perhaps his most evocative film, it is magnificently
beautiful and filled with observant detail: an insect in a glass, the
bliss of an elephant bathing in the river and the joy of the servants
reopening the dusty music room.