Possibly more relaxed and leisurely than most Satyajit Ray films, Charulata nevertheless has a graciousness and dignity which impart an added sincerity to the simple, yet thoroughly acceptable story.
It is the style that counts as Ray unfolds his story of a successful publisher, whose main interest is interpreting the political scene, while his intelligent wife vegetates by doing embroidery. Eventually, he realizes his responsibility to the woman he sincerely loves but neglects, and invites his brother-in-law and wife as house guests. Another visitor is a handsome cousin.
Inevitably, the lonely wife and the handsome cousin are drawn to each other, but always maintain an appropriate degree of restraint. The period, after all, is 1879.
The director keeps dialog down to a minimum, allowing the camera to be the main storyteller, and it emerges as a typical example of unhurried film making. The principal performances are universally good, Soumitra Chatterjee making a striking impression as the cousin. Ray’s script based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, is literate.