“Two” is a short film about two boys, one rich and one poor. The rich boy is surrounded by his toys and yet is bored. Suddenly he hears the plaintive notes of a flute being played by the poor boy from the neighbouring slum. He matches that by playing a toy trumpet. The poor boy brings his drum, the rich boy matches that with a tin drum, the poor boy has a mask and a bow and arrow and the rich boy has an array of costumes and weapons on display, including a toy machine gun. Then, the poor boy starts to fly a kite. The rich boy has nothing to compete, but he does have an air gun and he shoots the kite down. The poor boy is defeated and gives up his attempt to be friends…
Basking in his “victory” the rich boy turns on all his toys and sits surrounded by the noise they make. Suddenly clearly above the din he hears the plaintive tones of the flute again. The rich boy realises that his victory was transitory, He has actually lost and is lonely once more…
In 1965, Ray was approached by Esso World Theater to make a short film in English with a Bengali theme. Never very comfortable working in any language except Bengali, Ray decided to exchew the spoken word altogether. Two is the result. Its a gem of a film, drawing out the class distinctions between the rich and the poor, bringing out the competitive one-upmanship that exists in all of us and yet stating Rays recurrent theme — the real meaning of life is in contained in human relations.
Many of the scenes found an echo in his later film Pikoo – the loneliness of Pikoo is very similarly presented – although Pikoo is on a different theme altogether.