Topic: Budhbarer Boithok – Satyajit Ray Birth Anniversary

Jun 9, 2021 10:00 PM Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi

From the Desk of the General Secretary, Rabindra Bharati Society

As a part of our yearlong Platinum Jubilee Celebration, today we are meeting for our Budhbarer Boithoki Adda to commemorate the birth centenary this year of one of Bengal’s most revered personalities of the cinema world, Oscar Awardee, Satyajit Ray. The programme very aptly titled “Maharaja tomare 100 selam”, from one of the famous songs of everybody’s all-time favourite Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne. The evening commenced with a short clipping of Satyajit Ray reflecting on his life and works.

I then read out a hand written letter penned by Satyajit Ray to Rabindra Bharati Society expressing his joy regarding pictures drawn his grandfather, Upendra Roy Choudhury, in our archive.

Since the audience was desirous to hear from the internationally famed dancer Smt. Mamata Shankar regarding Satyajit Ray. I invited her to cite a few of her experiences while working with Ray in few of his movies. She said Manik kaka, as she called him, was like a family member and respected him like her father. Her father, the legendary dancer Udai Shankar, had made a movie “Kalpana”. Ray like it so much that he saw it many times. Her debutant movie was directed by Mrinal Sen, whom she hailed as Mrinalda. Ray saw the film and commented he did not like the movie but said she saved it. She was very keen to work with Ray but did not muster the courage to tell him. So she expressed her yearning to one of Ray’s closest associates, Nimai Ghosh to work in his movies. She worked in three of Ray’s movies and inferred that he was an extremely simple man. In the Agantuk set a child artist made a dhoop dani with wire and Ray not only appreciated it highly but also made everybody see it. On the first day while shooting for Ganasatru she was terribly fearful and tensed. But he explained everything to her and in a single take the shot was done. He followed a practice that everybody claps after the first shot of the debutant. So all started clapping for her making such a commotion that the pigeons holed up in the false ceiling above, started fluttering all around creating a dreamlike ambience. Before a movie, he would always organise its script reading whereby each artist could understand how he was supposed to go about his acting. At the same time he was open to suggestions, was very liberal and flexible. He had his eyes everywhere and was very concerned about nitty-gritties and everybody. Once she had a terrible waist pain and he noticed her standing for her shot. Immediately he ordered for a stool for her to sit. In Sakha Prasakha dance sequence with the sautals she felt like dancing with them and just followed their footsteps. She ended by saying the top is being empty.

Nearly all present sent in their comments on Mamata Shankar and after thanking her said it was his brother Ananda Shankar who inaugurated the Society’s Art Gallery along with erstwhile President Late Pranab Mukherjee.

Next I welcomed Sri Samir Aich who saw Satyajit Ray for the first when he was studying in Art College. He thought him to be an artist. Later he would copy Ray’s illustrations which taught the perspective of seeing through the lens. His black and white and far and near concepts were simply amazing. He could play the piano very well and appreciated Amar Pal’s songs. Sri Aich ended his short speech by saying that everybody will be successful if they follow him.

I thanked Sri Aich and informed all that Ray’s favourite singer, Anup Ghoshal was also invited but he lost a number of people recently and was very depressed and so expressed his inability to attend.

Then I invited Sri Chinmay Guha, Vice Chancellor of Rabibdra Bharati, who attended our International Seminar to kindly erudite us on Satyajit Ray’s works. He showed clippings of Jalshaghor, Pather Pachali, Aparajita, Nosto nir, Protidondi and Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne. International level – the magic horse – 1st time in international level so nobody thought Indian cinema would be of any worth. It was a 113 mins. movie – pather pachali – he was just 33 years old then – he rewrote cinema – next year San Francisco Film Festival won the best film maker , then best foreign flm – greatest of the world cinema – shown in Paris movie hall, in Cambridge . In jalsaghar jhar lonthon was d start and finished with it – 2 dots and a whole life in between – turning over a new leaf in the history of Indian cinema – altogether in the movie. Apu’s first appearance – graphic composition – used to create all the posters himself and they would give the picture of the whole theme – overhauled art and cinema – letter to him at 16 – receptive eye – eye opener for all – SR .. in the screen – transcended from music sceneries – individual becomes universal – would create a resonance in everybody’s mind – civilisation – brooding in the end. MS thanked VG.

I fall in love with his speeches the more I hear him.

Rabindra Sangeet in SY movies – Sangeet alekho scripted and narrated by Bula Bagchi

In 1961 Manihara – Piyali Basu sang baje koruno sure
In 1962 Kanchanjanga – Payali BAsu sang “ai porobabi robe ki”
In 1962 Charulata – Nostonir short sorty Indranil Bandopadhyay sang “ami chini go chini tomare”
In 1964 Kapurush – Rajaita Bhattacharjee sang “apothem ami j gechi bar bar”
In 1975 Jana Aranya – Indira Bandopadhyay sang “chaya ghonaiche bone bone”
In 1984 Ghore Baire – Indranil Bandopadhyay sang “bidhir badhon katbe tumi”
1991 Agantuk – Sromona Chakraborty sang bajilo kaharo beena”

Siddhartha Mukhopadhyay

rbs_website 24th August, 2022