Teen Kanya (AKA Three Daughters)
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Written by Satyajit Ray from stories by Rabindranath Tagore
Satyajit Ray Productions
I enjoyed this little-seen film by Satyajit Ray immensely.
This is an anthology film based on three short stories by Rabindranath Tagore, all centered on women. The first, “Postmaster”, is about a cultured Calcutta man who takes up employment in a small Bengali village. He is a fish out of water and forms a special bond with the servant he inherits, a little orphan girl.
The second story, “Monihara”, is a sort of modern Bengali version of Greed (1924), in which a wife is driven mad by her obsession with her jewelry. It’s told as a ghost story narrated by its writer, a schoolmaster.
In the final story, “Samapti”, a student’s mother decides that it is time for him to marry. He rejects her choice of a mild-mannered young teenager in favor of a wild child the locals call “Crazy Girl”. She is forced to go through with the marriage against her will and fights back with all her might. This has a neat resolution and was perhaps my favorite segment.
The entire film is almost three hours long but the stories are entirely unrelated and could easily be viewed in bite-sized chunks. I watched it in one sitting and was not bored for a moment. It was refreshing to watch such a humanist film after a series of arty French New Wave movies. The characters are all very relatable. Recommended.