Nayak is a 1966 film directed by Satyajit Ray. The film stars Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Sumila Sanyal, Bireshwar Sen, Kamu Mukherjee, and several other film stars from the early ’90s. It is a 2-hour film, with genres set to Drama/Satire. Though not yet available in the major OTT Platforms, it can be watched on YouTube for free.
The film is considered as a legendary classic by Satyajit Ray in today’s age. Rated 5/5 by French Films, 8.3/10 by IMDb, and an unbelievable 100 % by Rotten Tomatoes, it is indeed a masterpiece by Satyajit Ray. The original screenplay and story by the director himself, this film was intended to showcase a Film star’s life in a nutshell.
Which is actually the literary meaning of ‘Nayak’ in this film. The film also received the honorary ‘National Film Award for the Best Feature film in Bengali, Bengal Film Journalists’ Award, Silver Lotus Award, and received special mentions in the Berlin International Film Festival.
The film was shot entirely in monochrome mode (Black and white), not only because there were no color films/reels in that era, but also to indicate a ‘NOIR’ aspect in the film.
The film begins with Matinee Idol Arindam Mukherjee (Uttam Kumar), who is the ‘Nayak’, in the film. He is seen traveling on a train to collect an acting award in Delhi. During his monotonous journey, he meets Aditi, a print journalist who doesn’t like the overall idea of Film stars, yet still interviews Arindam, out of Crowd Demands.
Half of the entire film’s scenes are shot inside the moving train, where Arindam, out of sheer interest shares his past experiences with Aditi, seeing her ignorant persona towards film stars.
PIC CREDIT:- MOVIE MAHAL
The film is seen mentioning names of legendary actors such as Marlon Brando (Godfather, The Score) and many other prominent names. Since this film’s motive was to showcase the idea of ‘HEROES’, Ray very tactfully gets the job done. The cinematography is near to perfect and the D.O.P is still considered a remarkable job by Cinephiles and filmmakers till today.
There are a lot of elements to consider for film enthusiasts in the film, but subjectively speaking, the usage of props and transition in the moods of the artists was quite impressive.
Also, the scene where Arindam is seen submerged deep in a pile of cash, as he runs around joyfully in the deserted place, where the only thing which can be seen is cash and he was a remarkable metaphor. The shift in the authoritative and naive persona of a film star to a powerless/helpless and dependent state is showcased very well, as we can see Arindam sinking in a pile of cash, out of pure gluttony and pride.
PIC CREDIT:- NAYAK: THE HERO
Rest assured, it is a must-watch for Film lovers and fanatics. People who are inspired by Directors such as Martin Scorsese, Frank Oz, Michael Mann, Stanley Kubrick, and other similar filmmakers should have this in their bucket list. To know how the life of a Film star or a Hero, which was the trending name back in the early 90s from proud to demanding is indeed a strong resemblance to Star life.
Be it bingeing on alcohol and speaking British English or struggling for a role, the only thing that matters is the conscience.
To think how a filmmaker came up with such an idea in the early 90s is indeed a topic to brainstorm, but realizing the same in reality through the film, is a totally different voyage that we go through during the film.
WATCH THE FILM (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES):