The Hero

A sharp-witted, serious young journalist finds herself stuck on a train with a movie superstar in Ray's surprising examination of “intellectual” and “popular” cultures. Collisions are expected when the bespectacled intellectual (Sharmila Tagore) and the blustery movie star (Uttam Kumar, himself a Bengali matinee idol) wind up sharing tales and time on the train together, but soon the star finds himself revealing a surprising intelligence and self-doubt, as well as secrets from the past. And for the journalist, what begins as the hope of a star exposé turns into the glimpse of one man's failures and dreams, as well as cinema's (and fame's) capability to destroy itself. Many believed the intellectual Ray was anticommercial or antipopular cinema, but The Hero offers a perceptive, empathetic look at that world's dreams, hopes, and artistic dilemmas. Critic Albert Johnson described it best: it is “a realistic film about the unreality of dreams.”

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.