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The Music Room [Blu-ray] (1958)

Chhabi Biswas , Padma Devi , Satyajit Ray  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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Blu-ray The Criterion Collection $30.38  
DVD 2-Disc Version $20.03  

Frequently Bought Together

The Music Room [Blu-ray] + Charulata (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Big City (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Chhabi Biswas, Padma Devi
  • Directors: Satyajit Ray
  • Writers: Satyajit Ray, Tarasankar Banerjee
  • Producers: Satyajit Ray
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: Bengali
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004WPYO74
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,412 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

In Bengali with English subtitles

New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack

Satyajit Ray (1984), a documentary by Shyam Benegal that chronicles Ray's career

New interview with filmmaker Mira Nair

New interview in which Ray biographer Andrew Robinson on the 'Making of'

A 1981 French roundtable discussion with Ray, Michel Ciment & Claude Sautet

New and improved English subtitle translation

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp & 1963 essay by Ray

Editorial Reviews

With The Music Room (Jalsaghar), Satyajit Ray (Pather Panchali) brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor, Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to his way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years--now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Poetic, visually mesmerizing and I would expect nothing less from one of the greatest auteurs of all time.

Satyajit Ray. The Indian Bengali filmmaker was known for his non-traditional Indian films. Having directed 37 films in his lifetime, many which won multiple awards internationally and his contribution to cinema has earned him an Academy Honorary Award in 1991, his films are beloved by many and many have hoped to see his films receive the Blu-ray treatment in the U.S.

And who best than the Criterion Collection who will be releasing Ray's fourth feature film titled "Jalsaghar" (The Music Room) on Blu-ray and DVD.

"The Music room" is a film adaptation of Tarashankar Banerjee's short story but instead of creating an exact adaptation, Satyajit Ray would give his own spin to the film, making several changes but also creating a non-traditional film that would have music like most Indian films, but rather the music being an intermission, the music would be integrated as part of the original screenplay and featuring popular Indian music talent of the time: Begum Akhtar, Roshan Kumari, Ustad Waheed Khan and Bismillah Khan.


"The Music Room" is presented in 1080p High Definition black and white. For a film that could have been lost (the original negative was destroyed in a fire) forever, fortunately, through the collaboration of various companies, "The Music Room" was among Satyajit Ray's films that were restored and given an HD transfer on Blu-ray courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

There is no better surviving element of the negative than what we see with this film on Blu-ray and I have to say that the film looks great on Blu-ray. With Satyajit Ray's films, there is a focus on aesthetics, the environment around them.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decay of home, decay of life June 12, 2007
Although I have not viewed the DVD yet, I will update as to any special features, but I am sharing you my review from VHS.

If you have not been introduced to the cinematic world of Satyajit Ray, this 1958 may not be your best film to start out. Instead, try his last movie 1991, Agantuk, (The Stranger) or begin with the world classic mid 50's Apu Trilogy. The Music Room features lengthy Indian music and singing that may be difficult to endure, but it is essential to listen, because it is the essence of the film, the love of music.

Jalsaghar (The Music Room) takes place in the 30's in a huge deteriorating palace as the soil slowly erodes too. The theme is a contrast between decadence and wealth. All he has now is two loyal servants, a few gold coins, a horse, and an elephant. As the movie opens, we are in the present time, when Biswambhar Roy, a feudal landlord is depressed, he has lost his wife and son and his love for the grand music room, where he entertained traditional concerts, drinking, and dancing.

Biswambhar Roy is annoyed by the lights going off from his neighbor's new generator. The neighbor is wealthy and he is modernizing, while Roy is not. Soon, we are taken into flashback where evidence shows he was already beginning to lose wealth, but he said he would spend his last on his love of music.

His wife and son have gone to visit family, and in preparation of another concert in the music room, upon return, he learns they are dead from a whirlpool accident. Now begins the death of the cherished music room.

Satyajit Ray is one of the world's greatest directors, he writes, produces, and directs. He is also a short story writer, and was a graphic artist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ENGROSSING FILM IS RAY'S BEST October 20, 2011
Director Satyajit Ray's fourth feature is set in the fading decadence of India's feudal 1920s. It's a moving portrait about of a proud who clings to the rituals of the aristocracy as India moves into the modern world.

A popular actor of his time, Chhabi Biswas plays Biswambhar Roy, a zamindar, or once a powerful feudal lord who clings to the last ratty remnant of his glory days in his crumbling mansion. We meet him swaddled in his robes sucking on a hookah like a baby on his pacifier when he hears music from a neighbor's place that takes him back to his earlier days when he could fund lavish celebrations on his wife and son

But alas, Roy's indulgence - his addiction -- to his passions do nothing to rescue the slow loss of his fortune as he competes with his neighbor and spends the last of his money on irrelevant displays of master artists in his beloved music room. But what is mostly revealed is Roy's social impotence along with his false sense of entitlement and his sadly deluded sense of social superiority. But make no mistake; this great film is also about something more than the power of music and memory in a changing culture. It's about the conflict of living in the moment and letting go of the residue of the past. Something exceedingly difficult for us humans no matter when or what the age in which we live.

This engrossing film is Ray's best and a wonderful introduction if this director in not known to you. The best extra on this full-frame B&W restoration is the two-hour documentary "Satyajit Ray."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Satyajit Ray classic
FINALLY, RAY like he is meant to be deserved to be seen, Wes Anderson is a supporter, so check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!
Published 2 months ago by Sjur03
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Restoration of the movie
When I first saw the Music Room in a big screen at the Ice-skating Ring Calcutta, I found it to be slow but intriguing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Santonu Sarkar
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic
I am an avid film lover and after all the films I've seen in my life I didn't think I'd ever see another one that would have such a great impact on me as this one. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. Scot Shelley
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Ray but worth viewing
Pretty good film but I did prefer the Big City and Charulata. The Music Room I found a tad depressing, whereas the other two are masterpieces, in my humble opinion. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Krysl
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful copy of a beautiful film.
The third film of Satyajit Ray tells the story of an indian landowner in the early 20th century, whose fortune is on decline, mostly because of his passionate love for music,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Joachim Flicker
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally, utterly devastating.... My kind of movie....
The main character in this film is eaten away by his past as the fate of his family clashes with his passion for music and his desire to keep up appearances while his upper-crust... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Dr. Morbius
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's first Indian film
The Music Room, known by its original title, Jalsaghar, is directed by Satyajit Ray who is considered the greatest Bengali filmmaker of all time. Read more
Published on March 1, 2012 by Ted
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad that Criterion restored this movie
I enjoyed watching this movie. It's an evocative exploration of the dissolution of the pre-Independence feudal estates and the old resisting the new. Read more
Published on January 10, 2012 by Aamir Ansari
1.0 out of 5 stars soporific satyajit...
I like several films by this master director Ray (Diva/Apu Trilogy/The Stranger) and consider him one of the best in world cinema-- but "The Music Room" did not turn me on; it... Read more
Published on December 30, 2011 by rome-nylover
5.0 out of 5 stars Satyagit Ray
This is one of my favorite Satyagit Ray films and I was happy to see it offered in DVD. I have all his films, but most are on VHS.
Published on November 28, 2011 by balam
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