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Aranyer Din Ratri
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Written by Satyajit Ray, from a novel by Sunil Gangopadhyay
Starring Soumitra Chatterjee,
Sharmila Tagore
Aparna Sen
Music by Satyajit Ray
Cinematography Soumendu Roy
Release date(s) 1970
Running time 115 minutes
Country India
Language Bengali

Aranyer Din Ratri ("Days and Nights in the Forest"), (Bengali: অরণ্যের দিনরাত্রি Ôronner Dinratri) is an Indian Bengali film released in 1970 and directed by Satyajit Ray. It is based upon the Bengali novel of the same name by Sunil Gangopadhyay. It was one of the earliest films to employ the literary technique of the carnivalesque.[1] The film was nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 20th Berlin International Film Festival.[2]



The plot of the movie goes back to a similar outing the writer Sunil Gangopadhyay took in the early days of his poetic career. The story unfolds around a group of four friends, quite unlike each other and yet bonded together deeply. The four friends are all educated and comes from different layers of society, but the urge to escape from the daily grinding of city forces them to go out into the land of tribes.

Of the four friends, Asim (Soumitra Chatterjee), the leader of the pack, owns the car they drive in, has a cushy job, likes the company of girls and yet is very conscious of how he should be perceived by them. Sanjoy (Shubhendu Chatterjee) is a labour executive but would ideally want to immerse himself in literature. Hari (Samit Bhanja), a frank and straightforward cricketer, wants to forget the girl who dumped him. Shekhar (Robi Ghosh) is the jester of the party, the only one without a job. He has a roving eye but stays sober when his friends get drunk and vent their frustrations. They set out for the tribal Palamau, in Bihar, to tear themselves away from their regulated city life. They had read about the legends in writing about this land, the tribal women who are open and simple and beautiful. Wanting to break rules, they force a stay in a forest rest house by bribing the chowkidar, burn a copy of a newspaper in a symbolic gesture of cutting ties from civilization, deliberate on whether to shave or not and walk through the forest to get drunk at a country liquor shop. Hari gets close to tribal Santhal girl Duli (Simi Garewal) when she approached the group for extra drink.

Their resolve to be unshaven collapses when Shekhar sights two ladies Aparna (Sharmila Tagore) and her sister-in-law Jaya (Kaberi Bose) in the forest. The four introduce themselves to this family and in the midst of the forest, the two urban groups of people are almost relieved to find someone from their part of society. Asim flirted with Aparna and coaxed her to show her room. He is attracted to the elegant and enigmatic Aparna, but is unable to keep pace with her composure, presence of mind and intelligence. Later Jaya invited all of them for breakfast next day. At night four friends went to drink alcohol again in the country liquor house. Hari was upset because he could not see Duli (Simi Garewal) whom he had met previous night. While returning back to their rest house, they stumbled upon a car in front of which they shouted without realizing it as the car of Aparna. Next day they over slept and missed the breakfast. They found a packet of food lying outside their rooms and went to Aparna's house to return it. The entire group decided to chat near the rest house while Aparna's father is away with Jaya's son for a circus. They played a memory game where each participant has to add a name to a chain of names of famous people, after repeating all the names in correct sequence. The names each player chooses reflects his/her own preference and state of mind. The game reaches a crescendo, with only Asim and Aparna left in the fray when Aparna pulls out, deliberately handing victory to Asim, who seems to have placed his entire confidence at stake on the win.

The tensions peak at the village fair where the four friends go their own way. Shekhar goes off to gamble on money borrowed from his friends. Hari takes Duli into the forest and makes love to her. Aparna reveals her more vulnerable side that lies behind her composed exterior. She also holds up a mirror to urban insensitivity by showing Asim that how despite having spent three days at the rest house, they never bothered to find out how grievously ailing was the chowkidar's wife. Sanjoy, held back by his middle class moralities, is unable to draw up courage to respond to Jaya's bold advances. Later he walked back lost in his own thoughts in the lonely village road as twilight melts into darkness. The next morning, the four friends, each wisened than before in his own way, leave for Calcutta since their new friends have had to return in a hurry. As a parting gift, they find a can of boiled eggs sent across by the thoughtful Jaya. The look of glee on Shekhar's face as the car drives off and a relieved chowkidar rushes to close the gates behind them, brings about an emphatic finish to this forest sojourn.



  1. ^ Cooper, Darius (Spring-Summer 1999), "The Carnivalesque in Satyajit Ray’s Nights and Days in the Forest (1970)", Asian Cinema 10 (2) 
  2. ^ " Awards for Aranyer Din Ratri". Retrieved 2010-03-08. 

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