Director: RajA Sen
Run-Time: 123 Min
Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.4:1)
Jhaksu Ustad alias Dhananjay Sarkar of Murshidabad's Jangipur region's Dhanpatnagar village is an extraordinarily famous artist of village folk-drama. He is the king of 'FOLK Drama' in the Radh-Bagdi region which is in between Padma and Ganga. The main feature of an 'folk' group is that in it guys act as girls. They are called 'chhokra'. Jhaksu had skill, experience and reputation in turning a handsome young boy to a pretty 'chhokra'.
The 'chhokra' of Jhaksu's group Shanti alias Shanticharan has been trained by Jhaksu for seven-eight years. As a result Shanti's all engulfing beauty and his immense craziness of song and dance create an illusion of 'maya' in the minds of the audience in the villages. On one hand Shanti is the artistic creation of Jhaksu and on the other hand he is like his son, his soulmate.
This Shanti was used by Jhaksu's second wife Gangamani as a sexual partner who attracted him by her beauty and appeal. The reason is Gangamani's jealousy. Gangamani, though a lot younger than Jhaksu, eloped with him from her village to Dhanpatnagar, because she was attracted by Jhaksu's personality and his skill in song and dance. But Jhaksu often spends his nights with Shanti leaving Gangamani. Gangamani took revenge of Jhaksu's indifference towards her by luring young Shanti by her beauty. This incident shattered even Jhaksu, a man of great personality.
On the other side in a nearby village called Saotapara a new 'Folk' group was growing under the supervision of a music teacher Sanatan Ray. Sanatan is young. There is uniqueness in his skill of writing songs and staging 'Folk'. Sanatan is a bit bohemian. He also has a knack for the entertainment world of the city. As a result he hasn't yet decided whether he would permanently be in 'Folk'. But he also has a secret attraction for the 'chhokra' of the group Subarna. Besides, everyone in his group loves him, respects him.
In a festival organised by Chandramohan Juari in Binodighi village, Sanatan Ray's group gets a call to compete with Jhaksu Ustad's group. Few days before the festival during noontime in a desolate riverside, Jhaksu discovers his beloved Shanti in an intimate state with his own wife Gangamani. Before even facing Jhaksu Shanti runs away out of fear.
Still, without Shanticharan Jhaksu competes with Sanatan's group and recognizes Sanatan as a new talent. Both Sanatan and Subarna get bedazzled by Jhaksu's personality and his creative-self.
During the festival, a news comes from Dhanpatnagar that Gangamani has suicided. Already Jhaksu was torn apart by the running away of Shanti. The news of Gangamani's suicide makes him more shattered. Does that mean the 'Maya' of 'Folk' has become a curse in his life? In a temporary frustration, Jhaksu decides to quit 'Folk-group' and never to do song and dance again.
In the meanwhile, news reaches that, Shanticharan has joined a 'Folk' group faraway and is regularly performing. In a fleet of anger Jhaksu's friends and teammates present Shanti infront of Jhaksu. Shanti tells Jhaksu that the reason of Gangamani's suicide is Jhaksu’s indifference towards her. Jhaksu frees Shanti and returns to his village in the darkness of night leaving the world of 'Folk'.
On the other side, during the festival Sanatan meets his love of his youth- Sudharani. Sudharani is now married. His husband is a Sanskrit Pandit in a school. But he is a hardcore practical boring man with no taste in music. Sudha isn't happy in her married life. Her husband's torture increases because she went to watch the 'Folk' performance of her former lover Sanatan.
Sudha requests Sanatan to take her away someplace else. Taking the advantage of Sanatan's absent-mindedness, some rogues rape Sudha and she suicides from shame and humiliation.
Sanatan had thus no way to go back. so he finally decides to permanently stay in the world of 'Folk'. Subarna becomes his partner. They have now only one thing left to do, and that is to return Jhaksu Ustad in the world of ‘Folk’, who is in self- exile. Because where else would they get such a perfect teacher like Jhaksu to learn 'Folk'?
After getting Sanatan and Subarna Jhaksu's depression also disappears. Holding the hands of two new teammates along with the old teammates he again gets into the 'MAYA' of creating art. In a new way starts Jhaksu Ustad's feat of 'Folk', in which there is no difference between Hindus and Muslims, no racial discrimination, in which people of all class, all race become united in the 'Maya' of art.
Raja Sen (b. 1955), film director based in Kolkata. Shot to fame with his debut feature Damu (1997), bagging the year’s National Film Award for Best Children’s Film and the Shiromani Puraskar. Directed more than ten acclaimed features and nine documentaries; received the National Film Award for Best Documentary for his film on Suchitra Mitra, noted Rabindra-sangeet exponent; and National Award for Best Film on Family Welfare for his feature film Atmiyaswajan (2000). One of the most lauded directors of television in India, noted for adaptations of literary classics into TV shorts and serials, including the memorable Subarnalata, Samparka, Arogya Niketan, Tarashankarer Chhoto Galpo, Galpaguchchha, Bankim Sahityey Nari.