The novelist Ghosh (filmed earlier by Bimal Roy in Anjangarh, 1948 and Sujata, 1959) provided the story for Sen’s exploration of the ravages wrought by capitalism in a rural economy. Set in 1929 in a Bihar sugar mill, a middle-class outsider becomes the factory’s cashier. When the Depression hits, the apparently benevolent factory owners reveal their true colours as the workers and the peasants desperately try to defend their livelihood by any means at their disposal, including violence. The outcome of the struggle and the ending of the film are left open, suggesting that they have to be provided by real rather than represented struggles. However, the mood of the ‘unfinished story’ is far from triumphant and stresses the soul- destroying aspects of having to battle against overwhelming odds.