Satyajit Ray's 1964 film adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's 1901 novella Nastaneerh, Charulata was one of the sublime collaborations spanning the ages. Now, 50 years after Charulata was released, Gautam Mukherjee draws on this timeless story for a series of paintings – Chaarulata commemorating this momentous film.
Charulata is merely a 'beautiful object' in her husband, Bhupati's collection – like his statuettes, his books, his art. Something he owns, but not necessarily cares for. She reclaims subjectivity for herself with her writing and her intense physical desire for Amal -- a prohibited relationship. But when Amal too breaks her heart, Charu does not let this situation engulf her. For a woman like Charu, this too shall pass. Mukherjee draws inspiration from this iconic rebel. Rich in colour and form, each work is inspired by a small vignette, reflecting Charu's exploration, creation and use of objects that surround her.
As Mukherjee painstakingly evokes a bygone era, thousands of Charulatas try to open their wings even today, and that's the reason Ray's Charu will remain timeless.