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Chiriakhana 1967 DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Produced by Harendranath Bhattacharya
Written by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay
Satyajit Ray
Starring Uttam Kumar
Music by Satyajit Ray
Cinematography Soumendu Roy
Edited by Dulal Dutta
Distributed by Balaka Pictures
Release dates
29 September 1967
Running time
125 min.
Country India
Language Bengali

Chiriakhana or Chiriyakhana (Bengali: চিড়িয়াখানা; English: The Zoo)[1] is a 1967 Bengali film by Satyajit Ray. It is a crime drama film, starring Uttam Kumar as Byomkesh Bakshi. The title means "The Zoo".[2] The screenplay is by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay.The film was once considered as the worst film of Ray because of its complex plot,but nowadays many intellectuals and film experts consider it as the most brilliant movie of Ray.The flexible acting of Uttam Kumar in the movie was praised by many critics at that time.


Famous private detective Byomkesh Bakshi and his assistant Ajit were chatting when a new client Mr Nishith Sen knocked on the door. Nishith is a middle aged person,an ex-judge and a rich merchant. He needs Byomkesh for a very special reason. He is in search for the details of an old Bengali movie song (Bhalobasa tumi ki jano) and the actress of this song 'Sunayana', as he thinks that she is hiding somewhere inside his huge nursery ‘golap colony’ with a fake identity. Nishith as a judge hanged at least 8 persons, but after his retirement, due to regrets, he sheltered a few homeless people, who have either long criminal records or disgraceful social experience.Byomkesh listens to everything and accepts the case. He paid him the advance and requests him to visit his nursery.Byomkesh meets a Bengali movie expert Mr Ramen Mullick and comes to know about the movie producer's son Murari.He learned that,when Murari was making love with Sunayana,he was murdered in his own room.20,000 rupees and many gold ornaments was also robbed from Murari's room.Suspecting Sunayana's role in the murder of Murari,court issued arrest warrant against her, but till today, she is missing. Ramen gives the details about the actress and also about the film and promises to assist Byomkesh whenever he needs him. The next day Byomkesh and Ajit visit Sen’s 24 pargana’s bungalow and nursery to meet the residents whom sen had sheltered. Byomkesh disguised himself as a Japanese horticulturist named Mr Okakura while Ajit as his Indian assistant. Mr sen shows them the entire nursery including dairy, poultry and an orchid house. He introduces all the residents and Byomkesh photographed everyone. Within a few days Mr Sen makes another phone call to Byomkesh requesting him to visit again, but his conversation remained unfinished as Mr Sen is stabbed with a blunt weapon.Byomkesh and Ajit rushed there immediately and interrogated each and everyone concerned with Mr Sen’s nursery. After a thorough investigation, Byomkesh realises that the case is not so easy to solve as there are several motives and people behind sen’s death. After a few days another murder occurred inside the golap colony, this time the victim is Panu a deaf and dumb and one of the suspect who witness Nishith Sen's murder. This time also the killer used the same weapon and process as done earlier. Byomkesh again reaches the spot, examined everything and decided to records the interrogation in his voice recorder. Two cases come to him in parallel- first, where is Sunayani and secondly, while his investigation goes on he interrogated all the suspects Bijoy (Mr Sen’s nephew), Raiklal Muskil Mian, Brajo Das, (employees of Sen) Nepal Gupta (Professor) and Dr.Das (a physician and sitarist) all the women including Mrs Damayanti (Sen’s widow), Mukul (Nepal’s daughter) Nazar bibi (Muskils wife) and Banalakshimi – one among the list of suspected. Byomkesh takes an old photograph of Sunayani and tries to resemble it with all the concerning women, but he is yet to be confirmed. This time an important clue comes to his hand. One day Brajo comes to his house and confesses about his lord’s personal life.He said that Mrs. Damayanti sen is not late Nishith’s legal wife but a live-in partner for years.Many years ago,Nishith gives death penalty for Damayanti's husband Lal Singh for a criminal case.But Lal was not hanged but imprisoned for 14 years because of the concession given from high court.Lal later killed a person to abduct his car.He take many mechanical parts of the car and sent each part of it once in a month to Nishith's bungalow for threatening him.Lal often visits Damayanti secretly for money.But Byomkesh's investigation says many other possibilities too.He find a recorded sitar play tape of Dr.Das from his room which was played during the murder of Nishith (the play was heard by Byomkesh through phone).He also finds that Bijoy dumps Mukul for Banalaxmi.Byomkesh knows that Nishith won't agree the relationship of Bijoy with Banalaxmi,so there is a chance for Bijoy too to murder Nishith for marrying Banalaxmi and inheriting Nishith's wealth.Byomkesh accidentally notices a plastic flower and quickly take the photo of Sunayani and compare it with the four women's photo and go for a detailed analysis.He calls everyone and finally revealed Dr.Das as the person behind the murder of Sen and Panu.Dr.Das earlier said that he was playing sitar in his room when supposed murder was happening.But this statement was collapsed when Byomkesh found the play that was hearing from Dr.Das's room during the murder was from the recorded tape and Dr.Das manipulate this to pretend he's not the murderer. Byomkesh shows them the stolen jewellery and contract papers of ‘Sunayani’ which Das is hiding for a long time.Banalakshmi-the employee of this nursery reveals as the famous actress Sunayani and the wife of Dr Das.She had gone through a surgery to change her face.Finally Banalakshmi confesses that,her husband exploited her beauty to make money and how he has murdered everyone to destroy all the evidences including Murari,Panu and Nishith.Anyway,the motive behind the murder of Nishith is purposefully not mentioned in the movie at the end.



Occasion Award Awardee Result
15th National Film Awards Best Direction Satyajit Ray Won
Best Actor Uttam Kumar Won


  1. ^ Bhattacharya Supriya (1 September 2009). Impressions 8, 2/E. Pearson Education India. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-81-317-2777-5. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Andrew Robinson (1989). Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye. University of California Press. pp. 231–. ISBN 978-0-520-06946-6. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 

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