An 80-year-old Kolkata retiree is on a mission to get his neighborhood streetlights turned off after sunrise once he notices that they stay on all day as well. Shyamal Uncle finds his sense of propriety upset by this wasteful expense of electricity. But finding someone to take him seriously proves a battle against an indifferent bureaucracy and a complacent status quo (and is just maybe a welcome distraction from his otherwise dull routine). Suman Ghosh’s vérité-style film is alive with the sights, sounds and personalities of this old Kolkata neighborhood, as his unlikely protagonist pursues a quest that adds up to a wry, revealing, highly original tour of modern India.
“Suman Ghosh invites us to a world of cinema which is quite far from the lights and techniques of Bollywood…The extraordinary magic generated from the [ending] belongs to a fairy tale and leads to one of the most beautiful “happy ending” that we have seen ever before. The true history on which the film is based thus takes enchanting effects, at the end of this combat full of dignity, anger and enragement.” -Cahiers du cinema
‘Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights’ is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative.
In Bengali with English subtitles.