In the 1920s, Apu moves with his family from rural Bengal to Varanasi, where his father finds work as a priest. When the father dies, mother and son move back to their village. The young man resists pressure to become a priest like his father and instead persuades his mother to let him go to school. After graduating, he wins a scholarship to study in Kolkata. Apu works at a printing press at night to pay his expenses and begins to make friends. Meanwhile, left behind back home, his mother grows lonelier and lonelier … Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy was influenced by Italian neo-realism. In this, the second film, he puts his youthful protagonist in direct confrontation with modern-day commodities – automobiles, wristwatches, and printing presses – as well as the bustling street life of a contemporary metropolis and, particularly convincingly, his first encounter with electricity in the form of a lightbulb. It all challenges the young “unvanquished” on a functional level. At the same time, Apu’s individual coming of age and his adaptation to Western culture foreshadow the process of modernisation in Indian society that would culminate in the country’s independence.