Dayamayee (Sharmila Tagore) is happily married to Umaprasad (Soumitra Chatterjee - The World of Apu), the son of an upper-class family in 19th Century Bengal. This changes when a vision convinces her father-in-law (Chabbi Biswas - The Music Room) that she is the Goddess Kali returned to earth. He coaxes Dayamayee to fulfill her role as a living deity and transforms the house into a temple for her worship. The new Goddess is soon visited by the poor and sick from across the land. Shaken by their suffering, she performs her divine duty out of human compassion. But inevitably her plight as a woman made Goddess wears her down; the incense burnt as offering makes her suffocate and takes hold of her sanity.
Satyajit Ray's keen vision and lyrical approach to narrative makes Goddess a deeply enigmatic film, simultaneously uncertain and curious in the face of the supernatural. In its initial release, the film raised the ire of religious leaders across India. Despite the controversy, it won the President s Gold Medal. It also received a nomination for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, six years after Pather Panchali received a special award at the same festival, cementing Ray's international repute.