chapter  7
En-gendering the detective: of love, longing and feminine follies
Pages 14

It may be interesting to begin with a discussion of Satyajit Ray’s Manihara/ The Lost Jewels (1961). The film was a part of Teen Kanya ( Three Daughters ), comprising three films adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories (produced to commemorate his centenary). In this film, the female protagonist Mani (Malika) is obsessively attached to her jewellery, and therefore, she returns to get the same even after her death. The film takes off from a ghostly mansion, revealing the intense loneliness of Mani and her affective longings for her jewels. Haunted by an unresolved past and troubled by an uneasy present, the uncanny in her life represents the reality of the home and its dark chambers. In time, lonesome Mani is seduced by her ex-lover and she eventually elopes with him in order to protect her belongings from her husband, who apparently is broke. Later, it is revealed that during their sojourn Mani has been killed by her lover, whose sole intention was to clench the jewellery. Nevertheless, towards the end of the film, Mani, now dead, is driven by an undying yearning for things, and thus returns to reclaim her jewels. The close-up of the bejeweled skeletal arm is a shocking revelation of how Mani’s intense love for life was displaced onto beautiful inanimate objects to produce a narrative of desire and hopelessness.