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:: A Tale Of A Naughty Girl

The film is set in 1969, an historic time in many parts. But the situation in India sees a lack of technological advance and some of the young female community need to be “sold to patrons” as a means of survival by serving as mistresses. Lati (Samata Das) and Bakul (June Malia) refuse to succumb to such measures. Lati wants to go to school and learn about the world. Her mother (Rituparna Sengupta) is an attractive prostitute who believes that salvation lies in what she is doing.

It leads to a poignant climax when the girl, inspired by her kind teacher, sets about feeding her dream from a far distant environment. Her yearning for freedom sees Lati join her teacher in boarding a train. It’s interesting to note that this expression of freedom coincides with man’s landing on the moon, an uplifting element that bundles the messages together.

The story developed around the idyllic beauty of the Indian countryside and the harsh reality of its brothel. The director, Buddhadev Dasgupta, portrays the characters with sensitivity and there is freshness to the technique that is so conventional that anything relatively mundane can seem significant. That aspect of Lati’s freedom and man’s landing on the moon emphasise the vital journey taken.

There is fine camera work and convincing performances. Dasgupta has been a clever writer of verses and novels. This is a very artistic and sensible body of work.