A glimpse of Ray's craft that spilled gold on silver screen
Kolkata: The Indian Museum is organising a unique exhibition of photographs and memorabilia to celebrate the 98th birth anniversary of Satyajit Ray.
"It is an effort to highlight various dimensions of Ray besides his exceptional filmmaking. He was a creative artist, a great cartoonist and was extremely talented in storytelling through various art forms. Many people, particularly the young generation, are not aware of his versatilities. The memorabilia and old photographs have been put on display to reinvent Satyajit Ray," said director of Indian Museum Rajesh Purohit, who has curated the entire exhibition.
Purohit said Ray was perhaps the first Indian director, who vividly portrayed the existing contemporary society through the visual art form of films. "He was a creative artist, which is evident from various graphics, drawings, designs and photography put up in this exhibition. These exhibits have been collected from two noted city-based collectors — Indranath Barui and Souvik Roy," he added. Among 86 exhibits of various types, there are posters of the film Chiriakhana, articles published about Ray in various publications from time to time, numerous drawings by Ray for the cover of Sandesh and other books, the original cover of various books penned by him and long-playing records (gramophone records) of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and Hirak Rajar Deshe.
The most striking among the exhibits is the transformation of a portion of dialogue uttered by Ray's character Jatayu from his film Sonar Kella into a drawing. Jatayu talks about Duddhrash Dushman that he claims to have portrayed in his novel. It is an imaginary novel but the idea of Dudharsh Dushman —a band of dacoits —have been drawn by someone and this drawing has been put up in the exhibition.
Another interesting part of the exhibition is the alien characters conceived by Ray etched through drawings. According to Purohit, a very few know that in 1962, Ray's family magazine for children Sandesh published a science fiction by him named Bankubabur Bandhu, which was the springboard for the concept of the alien. Ray was interested in making an international film related to this work and even travelled abroad for making it a reality but shelved it for various reasons.
However, when Ray saw Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial at the Venice Film Festival in 1982, he was astonished to notice the striking resemblances to his story on aliens. The exhibition that kicked-off on Thursday will be held till May 15. "We have plans to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Ray in the museum in 2020. Preparations have already begun," Purohit said.