Archive of films Chokher Bali, A Passion Play / Chokher Bali

2003, 145 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2004

The young widow Binodini enters a rich Calcutta family where she meets the thoughtless Mahendra, his naïve wife Ashalata, and the family friend Behari. She refuses to accept a widow’s traditional lot, thus setting off a dangerous game. The film, which takes place in Bengal in 1902-05, is the second adaptation of the Rabindranath Tagore novel.  


Soon after her wedding, the charming Binodini is widowed. She comes from the countryside to Calcutta as the companion of Mrs. Rajakshmi, and there meets the rich woman’s son, Mahendra, who was originally intended as her husband. Now, however, the thoughtless young man is married to the naïve Ashalata, who quickly befriends the young widow. Mahendra’s prudent and politically involved friend from childhood and medical school, Behari, enters this play of emotion and passion. Binodini doesn’t want to come to terms with the widow’s lot, a bitter life spent in seclusion. She longs for freedom just like people from Bengal long for independence. The film takes place between 1902 and 1905 and focuses on the blighted atmosphere of the time. Though it relies on effective visual representation to convey its themes, the action is heavily dependent on the spoken word, both in the numerous dialogues and the frequent quotations from letters or poetry. The film features Indian star Aishwarya Rai, who portrays the somewhat mysterious leading lady. Her nickname, Sand in the Eye, gives the film its title.

About the director

Rituparno Ghosh (b. 1961, Calcutta) studied economics but was always drawn to film and literature. Possibly under the influence of his father – a documentary filmmaker – he finally decided to pursue the cinema. He began in advertising where he worked for ten years as copywriter and director of commercials and short films. Over the course of twelve years he made ten features in which he focused chiefly on female leads and family problems. His work has already been shown twice in Karlovy Vary: in 1998 Crossfire (Dahan, 1997) was shown in competition, and in 2000 The Lady of the House (Bariwali, 1999) in the section Another View. He made his debut in 1992 with The Diamond Ring (Hirer Angti), which was followed by 19th April (Unishe April, 1994), Malaise (Asukh, 1999), Utsab (2000), The First Monsoon Day (Titli, 2002), Shubho Mahurat (2003), Chokher Bali: A Passion Play (2003) and Raincoat (2004). Chokher Bali is the second adaptation, following a film made in 1938, of the love story of the same name first published in 1903 by Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore.


Shree Venkatesh Films
, 700 069, Calcutta
Tel: +91 33 224 802 67
Fax: +91 33 221 011 24

Venus Records and Tapes Pvt. Ltd.
Shiv Sagar, Corner of A.B.Nair Road, Opp. Chand Society, Juhu, 400 049, Mumbai

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Rituparno Ghosh
Screenplay: Rituparno Ghosh based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore
Dir. of Photography: Aveek Mukherjee
Music: Debojyoti Misra
Editor: Arghyakamal Mitra
Producer: Shrikant Mohta, Mahendra Soni
Production: Shree Venkatesh Films
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Tota Raychaudhuri, Raima Sen, Lily Chakrabarti
Contact: Shree Venkatesh Films, Venus Records and Tapes Pvt. Ltd.


Rituparno Ghosh


© 2021 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide