GenreDrama Music directorSatyajit Ray LanguageBengali
WriterSatyajit Ray, Mani shankar Mukherjee Release dateFebruary 20, 1976 Initial releaseFebruary 20, 1976 (West Bengal) CastSatya Bannerjee (Somnath's Father), Arati Bhattacharya (Mrs. Ganguli), Gautam Chakraborty (Sukumar), Lily Chakravarty (Kamala) Similar moviesDirected by Satyajit Ray, Movies about Calcutta, Movies about business
Jana Aranya (English: The Middleman), is a 1976 Bengali film directed by Satyajit Ray, based on the novel of the same name by Mani Shankar Mukherjee. It is the last among Ray's Calcutta trilogy series, the previous two being, Pratidwandi (The Adversary, 1970) and Seemabaddha (Company Limited, 1971).
The film portrays the hopelessness of the middle-class, educated, urban youth in modern India.
After making numerous unsuccessful attempts to find a job Somnath (Pradip Mukherjee), the central protagonist, finally decides to start his own business as a middle-man—i.e. someone who supplies an order in exchange for a fixed commission.
In spite of his ambition, he soon however finds himself involved in petty dealings, which appear unsatisfactory to him. His friend Sukumar, having gone through similar ordeals but finally being unable to land a job, becomes a taxi-driver.
One day, Somnath finds that in order to land a big order, he must appease a client by supplying him with a prostitute. Despite his tremendous hesitation and after trying several brothels, Somnath finds a girl for the purpose. However, she turns out to be his friend Sukumar's younger sister. Embarrassed and at a complete loss, Somnath offers her money and requests her to leave, but the girl refuses. Her purpose is to earn money, not beg, she tells him. Somnath delivers her to his client and lands the contract but suffers internally.
Pradip Mukherjee - Somnath
Kalyan Sen - Mr. Bakshi
Satya Bandyopadhyay - Somnath's Father
Deepankar De - Bhombol
Arati Bhattacharya - Mrs. Ganguli
Gautam Chakraborty - Sukumar
Lily Chakravarty - Kamala
Bimal Chatterjee - Adok
Kalyan Chatterjee - Somnath's friend
Bimal Deb - Jagabandhu
Santosh Dutta - Hiralal
Utpal Dutt - Bishuda
Rabi Ghosh - Natabar Mittir
Soven Lahiri - Goenka
Padmadevi - Mrs. Biswas
Aparna Sen - Somnath's ex-girlfriend
Sudeshna Das - Kauna / Juthika
Awards and nominations
The film has been nominated for and won the following awards since its release: Best Direction New Delhi, 1975; Best Film, Direction, Screenplay, Government of West Bengal, 1975 and Karlovy Vary Prize, 1976.
The Academy Film Archive preserved Jana Aranya in 1996.