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The World of Apu
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Written by Satyajit Ray, from a story by Bibhutibhushan Bannerjee
Starring Soumitra Chatterjee,
Sharmila Tagore,
Alok Chakravarty,
Swapan Mukherjee
Distributed by Edward Harrison
Release date(s) 1959
Running time 117 mins
Language Bengali
Preceded by Aparajito

Apur Sansar (Bengali: অপুর সংসার Opur Shôngshar, yr. The World of Apu), also known as The World of Apu, is a Bengali film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is the third and final part of The Apu Trilogy, about the childhood and early adulthood of a young Bengali named Apu in the early twentieth century Indian subcontinent.

Released in 1959, The World of Apu focuses on Apu's adult life, and also introduces the actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore, who would go on to appear in many subsequent Ray films. The film is based on the 1932 novel Aparajito by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. The film won the National Film Award for Best Film and several international awards, including the Sutherland Award for Best Original And Imaginative Film and National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The World of Apu has been influential across the world and is frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.[1]



A large part of the story unfolds in Calcutta. Apu Roy (Soumitra Chatterjee) is an unemployed graduate living in a rented room in Calcutta. Despite his teacher's advice to go to University, he is unable to do so because he can't afford it. He tries to find a job, while barely getting by providing private tuition. His main passion is however, writing a novel partially based on his own life and get it published some day. One day he meets his old friend Pulu, who coaxes him to join him on a trip to his village in Khulna to attend the marriage of a cousin named Aparna (Sharmila Tagore).

On the day of the marriage it turns out that the bridegroom has a serious mental disorder. The bride's mother cancels the marriage, despite the father's protests. He and the other villagers believe, according to prevalent Hindu tradition, that the young bride must be wedded off during the previously appointed auspicious hour. Otherwise, she will have to remain unmarried all her life. Apu, after initially refusing when requested by a few villagers, ultimately decides to take Pulu's advice and come to the rescue of the bride by agreeing to marry her. He returns with Aparna to his apartment in Calcutta after the wedding. He takes up a clerical job, and a loving relationship begins to bloom between them. Yet the young couple's blissful days are cut short when Aparna dies while giving birth to their son, Kajal. Apu is overcome with grief and holds the child responsible for his wife's death.

He shuns his worldly responsibilities and becomes a recluse - travelling to different corners of India, while the child is left with his maternal grandparents. Meanwhile, Apu throws away his manuscript for the novel he had been writing over the years. A few years later, Pulu finds Kajal growing wild and uncared for. He then seeks out Apu working at a mining quarry and advises Apu one last time to take up his fatherly responsibility. At last, Apu decides to come back to reality and reunite with his son. When he reaches his in-laws' place, Kajal, having seen him for the first time in his life, at first does not accept him as a father. Eventually he accepts Apu as a friend and they return to Calcutta together to start life afresh.



President's Medals (New Delhi)
  • Winner - 1959 - President's Gold Medal [1]
National Film Awards (India)
British Film Institute Awards (London Film Festival)
14th Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Winner - 1960 - Diploma Of Merit
National Board of Review Awards (United States)
British Academy Film Awards (United Kingdom)

Reception and legacy

At Rotten Tomatoes, The World of Apu has a 100% fresh rating based on an aggregate of 16 reviews.[2] In 1992, Sight & Sound (the British Film Institute's film magazine) ranked The Apu Trilogy at #88 in its Critics' Poll list of all-time greatest films.[3] In 2002, a combined list of Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll results ranked The World of Apu at #93 in the list.[4] In 1998, the Asian film magazine Cinemaya's critics' poll of all-time greatest films ranked The Apu Trilogy at #7 on the list.[5] In 1999, The Village Voice ranked The Apu Trilogy at #54 in its Top 250 "Best Films of the Century" list, based on a poll of critics.[6]

In 1996, The World of Apu was included in Movieline Magazine's "100 Greatest Foreign Films".[7][8] In 2001, film critic Roger Ebert included The Apu Trilogy in his list of "100 Great Movies" of all time.[9] In 2002, The World of Apu featured in "The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made".[10] In 2005, The Apu Trilogy was included in Time magazine's All-Time 100 best movies list.[11]

The World of Apu has been influential across the world. In Gregory Nava's 1995 film My Family, the final scene is duplicated from the final scene of Apur Sansar. The film's influence can also be seen in famous works such as Martin Scorcese's 1976 New Hollywood film Taxi Driver, several Philip Kaufman films,[1] and Key's 2005 Japanese visual novel Clannad.[12] References to The World of Apu are also found in several films by European filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard,[13] and in Paul Auster's 2008 novel Man in the Dark where two characters have a discussion about the film.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b Steve Palopoli (October 8-15, 2003). "Ghost 'World': The influential presence of Satyajit Ray's 'The World of Apu' lingers over some of the greatest American films of all time". Metroactive. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  2. ^ The World of Apu at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ Aaron and Mark Caldwell (2004). "Sight and Sound". Top 100 Movie Lists. Retrieved 2009-04-19.  
  4. ^ "2002 Sight & Sound Top Films Survey of 253 International Critics & Film Directors". Cinemacom. 2002. Retrieved 2009-04-19.  
  5. ^ Totaro, Donato (31 January 2003), "The “Sight & Sound” of Canons", Offscreen Journal (Canada Council for the Arts),, retrieved 2009-04-19  
  6. ^ "Take One: The First Annual Village Voice Film Critics' Poll". The Village Voice. 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2006-07-27.  
  7. ^ "100 Greatest Foreign Films by Movieline Magazine". Retrieved 2009-04-19.  
  8. ^ "Movieline's 100 Best Foreign Films". GreenCine. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-19.  
  9. ^ Roger Ebert (4 March 2001). "The Apu Trilogy (1959)". Retrieved 2009-04-19.  
  10. ^ The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, THE FILM CRITICS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, The New York Times, 2002
  11. ^ "All-time 100 Movies". Time. Time Inc. 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
  12. ^ Erin Finnegan (January 11th, 2010). "Shelf Life: Road to El Cazador". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  13. ^ André Habib. "Before and After:Origins and Death in the Work of Jean-Luc Godard". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 2006-06-29.  
  14. ^ Douglas Kennedy (19 September 2008). "Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster: Reflections from a hall of mirrors where the present changes shape". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-09.  

External links



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