beautiful but tragic film Goddess (Devi) is the story of a devoted couple
whose marriage is destroyed through a
widespread belief that the wife is the
reincarnation of the goddess Kali... WHILE HER HUSBAND Umaprasad is studying at college in Calcutta, the
lovely Doyamoyee cares for her aging father-in-law who is a devotee of the goddess
Kali. But soon she is to be swept up in a life-changing ordeal because of his
vision and unshakeable beliefs.
Alone with her husband's family at Chandipur in rural Bengal, Doyamoyee is content
to spend her time between looking after her father-in-law and helping her brother-in-law
Taraprasad and his wife with her adored young nephew Khoka. Missing her husband,
she is nevertheless worried that once he has completed his studies he may want
them to move away to work elsewhere.
When her father-in-law has a vision that Doyamoyee is the living Kali, her life
is no longer her own.
Although unsure that she truly is the reincarnation of the deity as he believes,
Doyamoyee takes on the role and soon she is overwhelmed by demands from loyal
followers of Kali who come in their droves to worship her. At first confused
and upset, she falls ill and her sister-in-law, who has become envious of Doyamoyee,
sends for Umaprasad.
Devastated to find he cannot be with his wife, Umaprasad tries to talk some
sense into Doyamoyee and asks her to run away with him. Estranged from her beloved
Khoka, she is tempted but is afraid that there could be repercussions if she
really is the goddess, the avatar of Kali. And there is further tragedy to come
as she fails to save the life of somebody most dear to her.
Goddess is a remarkable film; artistic and poignant. Set over a hundred
years ago in 1860, it is a superb reflection on life and faith in India in the
Kali, the Mother Goddess, is revered in Bengal as Ma, the mother, and the belief
in the reincarnation of Kali has been prevalent in India. One of the images
that has stayed with me is the beggar with his sick child, singing a song that
berates the Goddess for not helping him. When he takes his son to Doyamoyee
at her shrine the boy recovers and his song praises the Goddess.
The dialogue is intriguing. Doyamoyee's maid asks her for forgiveness because
she may have sinned without knowing it. She says: "We poor do not always know
right from wrong." And when Doyamoyee's husband is desperate for her to deny
being Kali, he asks her: "Are you a doll made of clay?"
Goddess features: Sharmila Tagore; Soumitra Chatterji; Chhabi Biswas;
Karuna Banerji; Purnendu Mukherji. The film is based on the story by Prabhatkumar
Mukherji from an idea by Rabindranath Tagore. Photography is by Subrata Mitra;
Art Direction by Bansi Chandragupta; Music by Ali Akbar Khan. Musicians: Ali
Akbar Khan (Sarod); Nikhi Banerji (Sitar). Production, Direction and Script
is by Satyajit Ray.
One of the most celebrated films in the history of Indian cinema, from arguably
one of filmmaking's finest auteurs, Satyajit Ray, Goddess is finally
making its way to DVD courtesy of Mr Bongo Films. Goddess (Devi) and
Two Daughters (Teen Kanya) are among Ray's finest and most moving works,
to be released as part of the Satyajit Ray series on 21 September. Awards for
Goddess: 1962 Cannes Film Festival, Golden Palm-nominated, Satyajit Ray.
Goddess (Devi) is released courtesy
of Mr Bongo Films on DVD on 21 September (2009). Certificate: PG | RRP: £12.99
| Running Time: 93 Minutes.
"Goddess is a remarkable film; artistic and poignant. Set over a hundred
years ago, it is a superb reflection on life and faith in India in the 19th
Century" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"Ray's magic, the simple poetry of his images and their emotional impact will
always stay with me" Martin Scorsese
"Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing
the sun or the moon" Akira Kurosawa
WIDELY REGARDED as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th Century cinema and
the last of the Bengal Renaissance movement which started at the beginning of
the 19th Century, Satyajit Ray was a giant of Indian cinema.
Directing 37 films during his lifetime, he was also a critically-lauded fiction
writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic, as well as
the recipient of more than thirty Indian national Film Awards, a winner of numerous
international film festivals, including Berlin, Venice and Cannes, and an honorary
Academy Award recipient in 1992.