(director/writer: Satyajit Ray; screenwriter: from the story Birinchi Baba by Rajshekhar ‘Parashuram’ Basu; cinematographer: Soumendu Roy; editor: Dulal Dutta; music: Satyajit Ray; cast: Prasad Mukherjee (Gurupada Mitter), Charaprakash Ghosh (Birinchi Baba), Robi Ghosh (Birinchi Baba’s assistant), Satindra Bhattacharya (Satya), Gitali Roy (Buchki), Somen Basu (Nibaran), Santosh Dutta (Professor Nani), Satya Bandyopadhyay (Nitai); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: R. D. Bansal: Big Home Video; 1965--India--in Bengali with English subtitles))

A religious farce amiably directed by Satyajit Ray.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A religious farce amiably directed by Satyajit Ray(“Company Limited”/”The Chess Players”/”The Kingdom of Diamonds”) that warns us to be wary of false gurus. Ray shoots it in black and white and adapts the comedy from the story Birinchi Baba by Rajshekhar ‘Parashuram’ Basu.

Retired lawyer Gurupada Mitter (Prasad Mukherjee) is lonely and depressed over the recent death of his wife. The wealthy widower resides with his teenage daughter Buchki (Gitali Roy). On a pilgrimage they meet the charismatic braggart travelling holy man Birinchi Baba (Charuprakash Ghosh), who claims to have given Einstein his E=MC squared formula and other incredible supernatural tales, and his animated assistant (Robi Ghosh), who dazzle the impressionable pair with an assortment of tricks and stories. Mitter hopes to find a husband for his daughter, and believes he can gain knowledge by becoming the holy man’s disciple. Meanwhile Buchki has a falling out with her boyfriend Satya (Satindra Bhattacharya) and wishes to spite him by telling him she also intends to leave him and become a disciple of the holy man. Satya turns to his intellectual friend Nibaran (Somen Basu) for help, who soon discovers the holy man is a fake by setting a trap for him. This enables the naive father and daughter to learn a valuable life lesson and return to their senses.

A pleasant but unremarkable minor film, that makes a safe predictable statement against cheats.