The trauma of refugee life and its piercing political cry forms the basis of Ritwik Ghatak’s sixth feature film— Subarnarekha (The Golden Line). The film seeks a further understanding of the semi-colonial Indian society after the transfer of power in 1947. Released in 1965, Subarnarekha is the last and the most complex of the trilogy that examines the socio-economic crisis of refugee life.
The narrative revolves around Ishwar Chakraborty, a refugee who stays in a refugee colony with his younger sister Sita. There he discovers an abducted boy Abhiram and takes him under his wing. An old friend of Ishwar offers him a cashier’s job in an iron foundry at Chhatimpur near the bank of Subarnarekha. He accepts it and goes there with Sita and his new family member Abhiram. At Chhatimpur, across their house, the children discover an abandoned airstrip and find it the most attractive playground. The childhood intimacy between Abhiram and Sita blossoms into mutual love, but keeping in mind Abhiram’s low caste origin, Ishwar turns down the marriage proposal. On her wedding night Sita deserts her brother and runs away with Abhiram, who takes bus driver’s job in Calcutta. They settle down in the city with their only son Binu. But tragedy comes to stalk their lives when Abhiram involves in an accident and gets killed by an irate mob. For the sake of her only son, Sita sinks into harlotry and out of utter shock discovers her brother, the drunken Ishwar as her first customer. The shock becomes unbearable and Sita kills herself. Frustrated Ishwar accepts Binu, his only relation, and starts off the journey to future.