Mon. Oct 18th, 2021
 
The Legacy Of Satyajit Ray

The Legacy Of Satyajit Ray

When Satyajit Ray, as a child, went with his mother to Santiniketan, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a short poem for him, the last lines of which translate as ‘But I failed to see with my eyes, just two steps away from my home/ On a sheaf of paddy grain, a drop of dew.’ Attracted by the obvious – the mountain or the ocean – we often fail to notice the beauty in the ordinary. Tagore’s influence on Ray would only grow with time. Much later, Ray would quote his teacher Nandalal Bose ‘Draw a tree, but not in the Western fashion. Not from the top downwards. A tree grows up, not down. The strokes must be from the base upwards…’ But it took a student of his sensitivity to appreciate ‘This was basic – the reverence for life, for organic growth.’

 

Despite being India’s most original and composite artist after Tagore, whose oeuvre in cinema, literature, music and graphic design is acclaimed all over, his impact on the common people – outside Bengali speaking areas and some Western countries – has been rather limited. Is it because of the language barrier? Is it because of his style and method? One has to immerse in his films, read his literary outpourings and observe how his diverse talent coalesced to produce some of the world’s most memorable movies.

The Legacy Of Satyajit Ray

The Legacy Of Satyajit Ray
The Legacy Of Satyajit Ray

 

Ray’s writings on cinema – direct, authoritative and unpretentious – often provide the key. In his first book of collected essays titled Our Films, Their Films, his mind gets revealed amazingly. Although more reflections on the history, art and craft of cinema would come out of his pen later, and Ray himself would make films belonging to different genres.

 

Legend has it that on the final day of shooting his last film, Ray threw his hands up in the air and said, “That’s it. That’s all there is. I don’t have anything more to say.” Not long after, he passed away in his beloved Calcutta.

 

Less than a month before his passing, Ray received an Honorary Oscar. The Academy Award citation read: “To Satyajit Ray, in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and of his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.”

Subhangee Guha

Break the Newz.

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