Satyajit Ray's Deliverance of Premchand's ‘Sadgati’
This chapter explores Satyajit Ray's Sadgati (1981), a film adaptation of Premchand's short story ‘Sadgati’ (‘Deliverance’, 1931), in terms of Ray's handling of the dalit question. It analyses the mediation from ‘Sadgati’ to Sadgati and offers a reading of Mahasweta Devi's writings on the subject in conjunction with the progressive politics of Premchand. It discusses the shifts that seem to have taken place, particularly in relation to the representation of the caste question, which has been a matter of serious concern for writers/artists both within and outside the community, in the light of present debates on the subject. Both Ray and Premchand were sympathetic to the cause of the dalits, the most culturally marginalized in India, yet their portrayal differs in terms of tone and rhythm, which in a way transmutes the content. The chapter also considers Ray's non-recognition of the issue of untouchability in West Bengal.
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