The Music Room [1958]

‘The Music Room’ or ‘Jalsaghar’ is the first Idian movie I have ever watched and I actually was so impressed in so many levels. It tells the story of a rich landowner, Roy, whose fortune slowly slips away. Nevertheless, he still insists on maintaining his lavish lifestyle especially his highly ornate and luxurious Music Room, where he holds performances (dancers, singers, musicians).

One of the main reasons why I loved this film is for its deep philosophical meaning. In fact, I had to watch this movie for my philosophy in film class and relate it to Sartre’s existentialism and bad faith.

Other than the story, the performance of Chhabi Biswas must be appreciated. He was able to transmit, through actions, the absurdity and patheticism of the main character. Honestly his performance moved me so much that I actually cried.

I fell in love with the soundtrack, it actually enhanced the drama, and gave the movie an indian spirit: the director was known to be more western than Indian, however this movie proved that his heart actually belonged with his people. The last performance in the movie [the dance] was astonishing: I was glued in my chair and I could not look away, it was so moving and emotional. My philosophy teacher made me notice that the woman dancing was actually telling a story through hand gestures – if you focus on her hands, at some point she picks up an invisible needle and starts sewing her face. These gestures incite that people put up a mask and hide their true selves, which is the case for our main character.

Moreover, this film is visually appealing; the composition of the frame and the lighting are amazing. So if you don’t wanna watch it for its philosophical meaning or acting, at least watch it for the visuals.

+ I really encourage you to watch this film, it’s one of the best out there; it’s very meaningful, emotional and visually appealing.

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