Tara Banerjee is the one character who pervades the whole novel and, as such, is discussed as one is discussing the novel. This section will thus discuss the remaining principal characters, of which there are not many.
Tiger Banerjee, Tara's father, is a wealthy industrialist and head of the Banerjee household. He sees himself as not only the master of his household, but also of everybody and everything in the entire factory that he owns. Consequently, his personality is imposing and his style imperious. Surrounded by money, power and sycophants, Mr. Banerjee never takes no for an answer. Because of his position and influence, Tiger has to do nothing. But with Tara, who has been living in America and is therefore not under his control, Tiger’s approach is silence. He would rather say nothing when things did not go his way where Tara is concerned. But the real shock to him occurs when his workers rise up against him.
Joyonto Roy Choudhuri represents the aristocracy of the past. He is loyal to the Banerjee family, and ultimately gives his life for them. However, he is completely out of touch with the reality of the world outside his immediate parameters, which are mostly the Catelli Hotel. He is snobbish and snooty. Most importantly, now that he is old and no longer working, he has become simply a parasite, living off the labor of working class. His last and only redeeming act is when he gets killed while trying to save Tara in the riot.
When Tara first meets Mr. Tuntunwala during her long train journey from Bombay to Calcutta, he hardly makes any impression on her with his diminutive body and nondescript personality. Once off the train, Tara does not give another thought to this man. It is only when he reappears at the industrial fare, where Tara is in attendance with her friends, that the reader realizes that the author is perhaps not quite done with Mr. Tuntunwala.
In the second phase Tara realizes his social importance which is similar to her father both in terms of wealth and power which is akin to her father's position in terms of wealth and power. Having realized that, she seems to be more amenable to him. When Tutunwala manipulates events in such a way that Tara ends up in bed with him, there is no indication that she resists. Money and power talk, even for Tara.