Satyajit Ray’s Jalsaghar has several memorable sequences and one can talk at length about each one of them. But, the ones that deserve special mention are the movie’s opening and closing sequences. Barring these two scenes, much of the film is presented in form of flashbacks. — Murtaza Ali

One of the most evocative opening scenes ever filmed. A middle-age man, his face set into deep weariness, sits on the wide, flat roof of his house in an upholstered chair that has been dragged outdoors for his convenience. He stares into space. His servant, his face betraying long alarm about his master, scurries toward him with a hookah, one of those ancient water pipes smoked by the Cheshire Cat in Alice and by the idle in Indian films. The man observes the preparations. « What month is it? » he finally asks (…) Perhaps as a reaction to the hundreds of overwrought Indian musical melodramas churned out annually, Ray made an austere character study–also with music. His hero deserves the comparison with King Lear, because like Lear he arouses our sympathy even while indulging his vanity and stubbornly doing all of the wrong things. Like Lear, he thinks himself a man more sinned against than sinning. Like Lear, he is wrong. — Roger Ebert

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