Calcutta 1879. Bhupati Dutta (Sailen Mukherjee), a wealthy intellectual edits and publishes a political weekly in English called 'The Sentinel.' His sensitive and beautiful, young wife Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee) spends her time doing needlework and reading Bengali novels. Sensing her loneliness, Bhupati invites her older brother Umapada and his wife Mandakini to live with them. Umapada becomes the manager of the magazine but Mandakini, a rustic and unlettered woman is no companion for Charu. Bhupati's cousin Amal (Soumitra Chaterjee) arrives to spend his vacation with Bhupati. At Bhupati's suggestion, the literary minded Amal helps and encourages Charu with her writing. The two get more and more drawn to each other. Bhupati, busy with the magazine as usual, is unaware of this development. Umapada escapes with the funds at his disposal. Bhupati narrates this to Amal, the only one he feels he can trust. Amal feeling guilty and not wanting to hurt Bhupati sneaks out the same night, leaving him a note. Charu and Bhupati go on a holiday and it appears her feelings are under control. But on their return to Calcutta, a letter from Amal brings back memories of their times together and she breaks down unaware her husband is standing behind her. Bhupati shocked at what ahs happened behind his back, leaves the house. When he returns, they both make a hesitant effort to reach out to each other. But their extended hands remain frozen in a tentative gesture of compromise that can only confirm their inner separation.
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