Two Daughters juxtaposes two seperate genre films about small-town Indian girls. The first film is frankly sentimental, but should appeal to anyone not embarassed by sentimentality. It describes the relationship between a young, orphaned servant girl and her master, a Calcutta postmaster assigned reluctantly to her provincial village. They become increasing close, and when, actually uncomfortable with the town, he returns to Calcutta, he leaves her heartbroken and finds his own emotions unexpectedly mixed. Director Santyajit Ray's scenes are always well-composed and seldom ostentatious, but I wish he would not use effects so crude as the violent thunderstorm that breaks out when the postmaster's malaria reaches a climax.
The second film begins comically, but without subtlety or surprises, and sustains its humor as the story grows stronger and more absorbing; it deals with a student who comes home from Calcutta to find that his mother has decided that he should marry. He dislikes the girl she chooses and she dislikes his own choice, a wild, semi-literate tomboy. He marries the tomboy, who feels trapped and sneaks out on their wedding night to feed her pet squirrel. Bewildered and annoyed, the student goes back to Calcutta, telling her to write if she wants him. She mopes until she realizes that she does want him at which point he returns unannounced and there is a happy, not excessively saccharine, ending.