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|Jana Aranya (The Middleman)|
|Directed by||Satyajit Ray|
|Produced by||Indus Films (Subir Guha)|
|Written by||Satyajit Ray (screenplay)|
Mani shankar Mukherjee (novel)
|Music by||Satyajit Ray|
|Edited by||Dulal Dutta|
Jana Aranya (English: The Middleman), is a 1976 Bengali film directed by Satyajit Ray, based on the novel of the same name by Mani Shankar Mukherjee. It is the last among Ray's Calcutta trilogy series, the previous two being, Pratidwandi (The Adversary, 1970) and Seemabaddha (Company Limited, 1971).
The film portrays the economic difficulties faced by middle-class, educated, urban youth in 1970s India.
After achieving only moderate academic results and making numerous unsuccessful attempts to find a job, Somnath (Pradip Mukherjee), the central protagonist, finally decides to start his own business as a middle-man—i.e. a self-employed salesman. He soon however finds himself involved in unethical behaviours, which is contrary to his upbringing. His friend Sukumar, having gone through similar ordeals but finally being unable to land a job, becomes a taxi-driver.
One day, Somnath finds that in order to land a big order, he must propitiate a client by supplying him with a prostitute. Despite his hesitation and after trying several brothels, Somnath, with the help of a more experienced operator, finds a girl for the purpose. However, she turns out to be his friend Sukumar's sister. Embarrassed and at a loss, Somnath offers her money and requests her to leave, but the girl refuses. Her purpose is to earn money, not beg, she tells him. Somnath delivers her to his client and lands the contract but is remorseful.
- Pradip Mukherjee - Somnath
- Kalyan Sen - Mr. Bakshi
- Satya Bandyopadhyay - Somnath's Father
- Deepankar De - Bhombol
- Arati Bhattacharya - Mrs. Ganguli
- Gautam Chakraborty - Sukumar
- Lily Chakravarty - Kamala
- Bimal Chatterjee - Adok
- Bimal Deb - Jagabandhu
- Santosh Dutta - Hiralal
- Utpal Dutt - Bishuda
- Rabi Ghosh - Natabar Mittir
- Soven Lahiri - Goenka
- Padmadevi - Mrs. Biswas
- Aparna Sen - Somnath's ex-girlfriend
- Sudeshna Das - Kauna / Juthika
Reception & awards
The film is generally considered to be one of the darker and more cynical ones in Ray's filmography, even by Ray himself. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 88% based on 8 reviews with an average rating of 7.1/10. Jonathan Rosenbaum of The Chicago Reader considers it to have "the best performances of any Ray film". Time Out considers it to be "absorbing viewing".
The film has been nominated for and won the following awards since its release: Best Direction New Delhi, 1975; Best Film, Direction, Screenplay, Government of West Bengal, 1975 and Karlovy Vary Prize, 1976.
- Chattopadhyay, Bhaskar (2 July 2017). "Jana Aranya: Satyajit Ray's most cynical, ruthless film resonates with today's world". Showsha. Firstpost. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "The Middleman (Jana Aranya) (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1 November 1995). "The Middleman". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- GA. "The Middleman". Time Out London. Time Out Group. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "Jana Aranya (The Middleman)". SatyajitRay.org. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 10 April 2018.