Anukul (story, film)

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Satyajit Ray. "Ankul." 1976(?). Translated into English by Gopa Majumdar. The Collected Short Stories. Penguin Books, India, 2015.[1]

ANKUL. Sujoy Ghosh, director, screenplay, producer. "Written by Ritesh Shah (Dialogues) / Sujpoy Ghosh (Dialogues)." "Based on Ankul by Satyajit Ray." India: Boundscript Motion Pictures, 2017. Running time 21 minutes. Language: Hindi.[2]

In the "Cast" section of the Wikipedia entry for the film, Anukul is described as "a humanoid robot who has human-like thinking."[3] The "Plot" section, quoted below, uses "android" — but "humanoid robot" is may be better for how to think of the character, however organic "he" may look and be.

In an electronic communication shared by Lisa Yaszek, Sagnika Chanda has Satyajit Ray's story dealing "with a humanoid robot and his ethical dilemmas."


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From Wikipedia entry for film:

Nikunj Chaturvedi [...] buys an android from a salesperson of Chowringhee Robot Supply Corp. Before buying it, Nikunj Babu is warned by the salesperson not to hit the android named Anukul.

A few days later, Nikunj Babu's cousin brother [sic] Ratan visits Nikunj Babu at his home. He is surprised to see that his brother had bought a robot. Since he had recently been fired from his workplace due to complications with androids, the enraged Ratan proceeds to hit Anukul in the head with a clothing iron [a steam iron is pictured in a popup], causing Anukul to shut down.

In a different visit [...], Ratan tells Nikunj Babu (who has recently lost his job due to a much-smarter and more efficient android) that he had become rich by inheriting the wealth from a recently deceased relative. While Nikunj Babu is away, the drunk Ratan again attempts to hit the android, forcing Anukul to electrocute him with a high voltage electric spark [...]. The doctor, who examines Ratan, claims that he died from a heart attack.

A lawyer visits Nikunj Babu at his home from whom Nikunj Babu learns that he has inherited Ratan's whole wealth, as he is the only living next of kin. [...] Nikunj Babu and Anukul briefly exchange glances, as the film ends.[4]

Film reviewed on line by Rahul Desai in Film Companion, India (linked below), "Anukul Short Film Review: A Well-Disguised Origin Story," updated 8 Oct. 2017. Lede notes source in the Satyajit Ray story and classifies the film as "a futuristic tale about a school teacher and his human-like machine." Rahul Desai identifies "Kolkata's Chowringhee Robot Supply Corp." as a firm contributing to India's "unemployment epidemic by replacing human jobs with their swanky AI products." The tech revolution is resented by many in the city, and Ratan is identified explicitly as "a homegrown manifestation of the 'other side' of the human race, the petty portion responsible for perhaps kick-starting the 'Dawn' and 'War' segments of the robot trilogy" in Rahul Desai's conceit of Anukul as the origin segment in — or "quiet epilogue" to — "a 'Planet of the Robots' series," like THE PLANET OF THE APES reboot, with DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014) and WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017).[5]

See for AI, theme of robot rebellion, and job displacement through automation, as in K. Vonnegut's Player Piano, which see for that novel itself and references to related works.[6]



RDE with thanks to Sagnika Chanda and Lisa Yaszek, finishing, 26May24