36 Chowringhee Lane is one of those few English films in India that deals with the culture and problems of a minority community, the Anglo-Indians. In this Aparna Sen film, Violet Stoneham represents this community and plays the character to the hilt. The film presents the cultural outsider who belongs to the Western civilization that the British have left behind. They are probably the primary link to the tradition of English language. In 36 Chowringhee Lane Aparna Sen presents the angst of those people who are crushed down by the weight of dual culture.
Plot of 36 Chowringhee Lane
Set in post- Independence India, the film 36 Chowringhee Lane revolves around the life of the Anglo Indian teacher, Violet Stoneham played by Jennifer Kendall. The story revolves around the life of the ageing and lonely school teacher, Violent, who leads a quiet uneventful life until she meets an ex student of her named Nandita portrayed by Debashree Roy. Dhritiman Chatterjee portrayed the unusual character of author Samaresh Maitra, who is also the boyfriend of Nandita and together, they use the Anglo- Indian teacher's home for their own interest and ultimately leave her alone when she wants to celebrate her friendship with the pair.
The prominent theme in 36 Chowringhee Lane is Christmas. The time span presented in the movie is one year, from one Christmas to another. It is a leitmotif as well. The movie creates brilliant effect in its movement from past to present and vice versa. At one point of time these two time frames converge into one.
Crew of 36 Chowringhee Lane
Aparna Sen’s first directorial venture, she also wrote the screenplay after she showed the initial script to Satyajit Ray, who suggested her to make the film. 36 Chowringhee Lane is produced by Shashi Kapoor and the National Film Award winning cinematographer, Ashok Mehta did the cinematography with Bhanudas Divakar as the editor. Vanraj Bhatia composed the music of the movie with Hitendra Ghosh, who was part of sound design along with Bansi Chandragupta, the head of Art design.
Awards of 36 Chowringhee Lane
36 Chowringhee Lane won National Film Awards for Best Director and Cinematographer. Apart from these the Indian movie also won awards at International Film Festival in Philippines and Jennifer Kendall won the Best Actress Award at Evening Standard British Film Awards.