The magic of Satayajit Ray is that a story written way back in the year 1976 is still relevant, fresh and seems avant garde even in 2018.
Sujoy Ghosh’s short film Anukul, based on Satyajit Ray’s short story of the same name, is set in a dystopian future when people coexist with robots. Ray didn’t set the story in an absurdly futuristic timeline; but chose to narrate it in a contemporary setting, which makes the movie believeable.
Nikunj babu, a Hindi teacher brings a robot named Anukul to do his household chores. Nikunj Babu’s cousin brother Ratan, however, is not happy with his brother’s decision, having recently lost a job to a robot.
One day, while reading the Geeta, Anukul asks Nikunj Babu a pertinent question: How do you decide what’s good or bad? Who gets to decide this? To all this, Nikunj babu has one reply: Your heart.
We’re not going to reveal what happens next, but needless to say, like with everything Satyajit Ray, do not take the plot at its face-value.
This film has multiple layers. On the one hand, it makes one think about the possibility of robots taking over and people losing their jobs to them which leaves you with an eerie feeling. On the other hand, the robot’s quest for trying to understand what makes something good or bad makes one wonder- is the judgement of someone’s character circumstantial? Does an action’s piousness depend upon the situation? This leaves us in a dilemma- would you judge Anukul for his actions or for the fact that he did what he thought was ‘right’?
Watch the movie right here: