In 1920, young Apu (Gupta) is growing up in Varanasi where his father (Banerjee) performs sacred rites on the banks of the Ganges. When his Dad is taken ill and dies, Apu and his mother (Banerjee) return to the country where she finds work as a maid. Apu persuades her to let him go to the local school, where he excels. The teenaged Apu (Ghosal) then earns a scholarship to study in Calcutta, but his mother is unhappy at being left alone.
This second installment of Ray’s trilogy “The World of Apu” delves further into Apu’s coming of age story with delicate detail and a poetic charm. The bittersweet narrative (drawn from two Indian novels) holds universal appeal, and Ray’s cinematic eye captures the quotidian magic of another time, place and culture. Influenced by Italian neorealism and featuring music by newcomer Ravi Shankar, this middle section of Ray’s immersive cinematic triptych stands on its own as a timeless classic.