Video | The representation of tribal women in Indian cinema: A comparison between Assamese cinema and Satyajith Ray’s classic “Days And Nights In The Forest” – Assam & West Bengal

The immediate impression of Indian movies is that all are depicting an established formula, where the good woman is usually vulnerable and innocent, mostly good looking and also helpless or lacking in intelligence. The bad woman is either sensuous or scary and wicked even in appearance. But Assamese cinema, especially as seen through most of the films taken for the study, has not stuck to this kind of stereotyping in the larger sense. Films in Assam, through the decades, have dealt with serious issues concerning the society, and women in majority of the films, rather than only showing romance and escapism.

Rashmi Sarmah, PhD thesis Assam titled “Gender Representation in the Cinema of Assam”, Assam University 2014, Abstract p. 11
Citation Details:
Date visited: 1 November 2020

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

Days and Nights in the Forest was one of Ray’s most successful films [wherein he introduces] an overt sensuality to his work. […] Feel the tension in this scene [5:10] A beguiling Santal woman [portrayed by a non-Santali actress Simi Garewal] whom [the young men in this story] met is hired to clean their room – and perhaps more. […] No girlfriend of these guys would be allowed to parade themselves in this manner […] In the forest, their true selves are revealed.

To discuss the troubling issue of “sensuality” mainstream society associates with Santal women, watch the relevant scene as part of the introduction by Preston Miller >>

Source: Days and Nights in the Forest – introduction by Preston Miller

Date visited: 1 November 2020

The entire film by Satyajith Ray can be watched on YouTube:

Published on Aug 17, 2014
Directed by Satyajit Ray, 1970

Soumitra Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Sharmila Tagore, Subhendu Chatterjee, Samit Bhanja, Pahari Sanyal, Kaberi Bose, Simi Garewal, Aparna Sen

Source: ▶ অরণ্যের দিনরাত্রি Aranyer Din Ratri (Days And Nights In The Forest) 1970 Satyajit Ray – YouTube
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Date Visited: Tue Sep 09 2014 20:58:52 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Screenshot | Full size image © IMDb >>
Screenshot | Full size image © IMDb >>

More information about this film is found on | Actress Simi Garewal Photo 1 | Photo 2 >>


Calcutta, Feb. 20:  Ashim (an ex-political activist), Sanjay (typical middle-class Calcutta) and Hari (a sportsman) decide to go into a forest for a holiday. That’s what they had done, exactly 33 years ago. Unlike then, this time they are accompanied by their wives and children. They miss Shekhar, their fun-loving friend. Same place, same people (well, almost), different time…

Three decades after Aranyer Din Ratri took audiences by storm, there is a twist in the forest tale. In what marks a first in the history of Indian cinema, one of the leading directors of modern times is taking off from where the master of another era shut his camera-box. The result: A yet-to-be-named venture directed by Goutam Ghosh, which carries forward Satyajit Ray’s Aranyer Din Ratri.

The idea is simple: Ghosh is going to take up the characters immortalised by the Ray masterpiece. […]

Now, the three friends are all married, with children. Ashim and Aparna are back, having first met in the forests of Palamau and then going on to get married. But some faces are lost forever. What hurts most, says the director, is the absence of ‘Shekhar (Robida)’. Also missing from Ghosh’s scheme of things is the smouldering presence of Duli (Simi Garewal), the Santhal girl. All externals, from “the forest to the political situation to the social matrix”, have also changed.

“When I was making a documentary on Manikda, I saw Aranyer Din Ratri after a long time… I thought it would be interesting to take the characters back to the forest. But mind you, it’s not a sequel,” says Ghosh. “Sunilda’s (Gangopadhyay) novel was also a source of inspiration.” The actors are “most excited” at the prospect. “It is something like Yarrow Revisited. We are all looking forward to a return to the forest,” said Subhendu.

Date Visited: Tue Sep 09 2014 20:37:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Learn more

 Baha Parab: Flower Festival of the Santals
Learn more about this and other murals in West Bengal >>

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