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The Great Bengal Famine of 1943 forms the backdrop for the novel Ashani Sanket, written contemporaneously by the greatest portrayer of rural Bengal, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Through the eyes of Ananga, her husband Gangacharan and their compatriots, the author has drawn with deep sympathy their daily lives in a remote village as they face with utter bewilderment the onset of the famine--the distant thunder.
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay is an iconic and beloved Bengali writer of the twentieth century. His novels Pather Panchali ('Song of the Road') and Aparajito ('The Unvanquished') were made into the famous 'Apu Trilogy' by Satyajit Ray, another iconic movie director (Life-time Oscar, 1992). Ray also made a movie based on this novel Ashani Sanket ('Distant Thunder') which conquered the Golden Bear in Berlin Film Festival and is claimed by New York Times as being one of the 1000 best movies ever made.