Often the comparison comes between these two characters that Ray created for two of his best films. Charu or Charulata, from the film Charulata (The Lonely Wife) and Bimala from Ghare Baire (The home and the World). Let us study the similarities and their differences.
Both the films were adopted from Rabindranath Tagore’s novel. Both are set with the background of a zamindar’s mansion, and both deals with a triangle relationship, where a childless woman emerges from traditional constraints into unfulfilled sadness. Although the two films are quite similar in there happenings and theme. Yet the two differ in their fundamental structure, like the tone, key and texture. In case of Charulata, the story deals with unrequited love. Where as in Ghare Baire, the story depicts a high level tragedy, shorn of easy romance. It also confronts the wider effects of their own deficiencies. The vision in Ghare Baire is deeper, mature and also quite darker than Charulata.
Once Ray commented on Ghare Baire, where he said, “There is a kind of tension in the film, you know everything is going to fall apart.”
About the women in these two films, Charu is creative, smart. Whereas Bimala was not. That is the basic difference between them. And it was this difference that affects each frame of the two films. Bimala is a much more conventional type of woman, who concludes that God will punish her for her wrong doings. Bu on the other side, Charu feels no guilty at her feeling for her brother in law, Amal. All Charu’s emotions are more intense and finely tunes than Bimala’s, and it is this fact that fills the film with a grace, that is denied to its successor by ray’s design.
Coming to the music, both are composed by Ray himself. And both are considered as one of his best compositions. For each film of the two, Ray imaginatively adapted the lovely tune of a Tagore song in various ways. But in Charulata, only one tune dominates the entire film. Regarding the musicality, both the films differ. In Charulata it sounds like Mozart’s operas, whereas the Ghare Baire reminds us of Beethoven.
On this Ray once said, “It is the movement and growth of the character and relationships that is more important than what’s happening on the surface. But even so there is a kind of musical structure and development.”