Satyajit Ray’s family plans big for birth centenary

Torchbearer of auteur Satyajit Ray’s legacy, his family feels the weight of his extensive cinematic heritage. But that isn’t stopping them from planning big for his birth centenary in 2021.

“We do have plans but I don’t want to disclose it right now. Hundred years is something very special to all of us. So we have to think big for 100 years,” the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s son Sandip told IANS on Tuesday.

Sandip was at 1/1 Bishop Lefroy Road, Kolkata, the icon’s sprawling British-era residence in south Kolkata where Satyajit Ray’s 96th birth anniversary celebrations were going on.

Asked for specifics by IANS, Sandip proffered, while receiving guests and exchanging pleasantries: “We will definitely have a very big exhibition of his entire output. That is for sure.”

Will it be a travelling exhibition’

“Absolutely, it has to be. I don’t know about the world, but India definitely,” he said, and added that initial talks are on to explore the possibility of taking the exposition to different places in India and even abroad.

Seated at his desk, in a corner of a large room, adjacent to Ray’s own, Sandip is soaking in the buzz surrounding Ray’s legacy, made all the more prominent by a series of awards lined up neatly on a bookcase. Questions abound on Ray.

Does he feel the burden of the famous Ray legacy, spanning cult classics like the Apu trilogy, “Pratidwandi”, “Jalsaghar” (The Music Room), the endearing and enduring Feluda series, to name just a few.

“I do feel absolutely. I don’t think about those things very much. If you do, then you will not be able to work,” Sandip adds with a laugh as his wife, the obliging Lolita, takes care of the constant stream of visitors.

“Pather Panchali”, the first film in the Apu trilogy and Ray’s feature debut in 1955, won 11 international prizes, including the inaugural Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.

Sandip is happy to see a lot of click-happy youngsters amongst the elderly, many of whom struggled to climb up the flight of stairs to the second-floor room.

“It is a very good sign. If he or she is a Bengali, then he or she should read Feluda in Bengali, not the English translations. Reading is on the way out, that is unfortunate. Because most of the bookshops are shutting down, so lot of people are buying stuff online…,” he observed.

Revolving around the 27-year-old, athletic Pradosh Chandra Mitter, nicknamed Feluda, the novellas showcase the private eye’s superb analytical and observational skills to dig out clues that ultimately lead to a solution of the mysteries — be it murders, thefts or kidnapping.

Have digital distractions and dwindling reading habits impacted the Feluda followers’

“It hasn’t as yet. I don’t know about the future,” Sandip signed off with a smile.


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