Kharij is simply a mind-blowing film by Mrinal Sen. The exploitation of servants by middle class have never been brought out in a better way in the cinemas. Anjan Dutt, a Sen favorite won accolades for his performance in the film. Mamata Shankar enacted the role of the wife of Anjan Dutt.

Kharij opens with a sequence where a small child comes to work in the household of a middle-class family. The couple have a small lovable child. A few sequences later, the scene of action moves to the kitchen. The kitchen is locked from inside. The previous night, the servant had gone to sleep in the kitchen ( usually he sleeps in the basement of the house) and is not answering the frantic calls of his master and other members of the household. After trying for quite a while, the door is broken and the boy is found to be lying in an unconscious state. The doctor is called, who announces the child to be dead.

As it is a case of unnatural death, the police is called. By now, inquisitive neighbors have already got wind of the incident, and have converged as a crowd in front of the couple's residence. Some sympathetic neighbors comes to help the couple in this crisis. Police arrives and takes stock of the situation. They conduct their routine investigations, and takes the body of the boy for "postmortem." The husband will have to report to Police Station in the evenings. A helpful neighbor, sensing it to be a complicated case, advises the husband to consult a reputed lawyer to prevent him from getting implicated in legal wrangling. When the husband goes to the lawyer, the lawyer exposes the husband's false claims of treating the servant-boy as one of their family members.

When the deceased boy's father comes to the couple's house to take his son's monthly salary, he receives the shattering news of his son's demise from the other small boy working in the household. When the couple actually goes to meet the servant's father, the man breaks down and naturally, is inconsolable. Some of the sequences are indeed very touching. When the deceased boy's father has to stay that night in the couple's house, the couple sets up a nice bed for him at night, full of warm quilt and thick mattresses. However, the boy's father's sentiments prevented him from availing of such luxury, and he said that he would like to sleep in the kitchen where his son was found dead sleeping.

Post-mortem gives verdict that the boy has died from carbon-monoxide inhalation. The boy had gone to a late night film show the previous night, and returned around midnight to the house. When he felt that it was cold, he went to sleep in the kitchen (normally he slept in the basement). There was no ventilation in the kitchen room, and the charcoal cooking item was dimly burning. Ignorant of the perils of sleeping without proper ventilation, the servant succumbs in his sleep. After the postmortem report, the boy is taken to the burning Ghat and set aflame. 

The denouement sees the hapless father finally asking permission from the couple to return to his home in the village. Truly, an unforgettable film.

The supporting cast of Kharij had Charu Prakash Ghosh who played a conscientious lawyer. Sreela Mazumdar, another Mrinal favorite, has a small but significant role in the film as the helpful neighbor, who comes to the help of the couple in their hour of distress. The Director's wife, Geeta Sen, does a cameo in the film as a helpful neighbor. Debotosh Ghosh had a memorable role in the film. Brief appearances by Sunil Mukherjee as a curious neighborhood onlooker featured in the sequences. The music for this film was scored by B.V.Karanth. Kharij was based on a story by Ramapada Choudhury.

Sen's "Kharij" ( The case is closed ) won the special Jury Prize in 1983 at Cannes. Nitish Roy, the noted Art Director won the National Award for this film.

Interested readers may visit the writers site for more information on Mrinal Sen at the following link:


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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