Released in 1961, this Bengali film has three of Tagore’s stories presented as three different short films in one. Satyajit Ray made this film as a tribute to mark Tagore’s birth centenary. In all three stories, female characters are in focus and the director beautifully portrays their emotions on-screen.
The first story, The Post Master, is about a young orphan girl of about 8-10 years, Ratan (Chandana Banerjee), who works as a maid in the village postmaster’s house. Her new master is a young man from Calcutta, Nandalal (Anil Chatterjee) who misses the hustle-bustle of city life and his family back home. Unlike her previous masters, Nandalal is kind to Ratan and starts teaching her Bengali. The story is simplicity itself, seeming to touch on Ray’s interest on the variety of forms of learning and cultural exchange, taking in issues of family, friendship, education with a socially conscious eye towards equality, fairness and justice. Thogh the segmant is short, it conveys such a wealth of revelation and understanding with its few dramatic strokes that it stands as a thing of full expression, a cinematic gem.