Satyajit Ray's drama about the Bengal famine of 1942-1943 stars frequent Ray collaborator Soumitra Chatterjee as Gangacharan, a Brahmin who sets up a school in a remote Bengali village. As World War II drains India's resources, the price of rice begins to rise, and soon the villagers can no longer afford to eat. Merchants horde their grain and the impoverished villagers riot in protest. Gangacharan manages to survive for a while by exchanging his teaching services for food, but the devastation around him soon becomes so desperate that his altruism overcomes his instinct for self-preservation.
by Tom Vick synopsis