Birth Centenary of Satyajit Ray celebrated

Barun Chanda and the master. Photo: Keshav Kadam

On the occasion of the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray, his films were screened and panel discussion on his legacy and films was held. Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Barun Chanda and Shantanu Moitra were the panelists at the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC), Mumbai.

Barun Chanda revealed how he wooed Ray to get a role in Seemabaddha, and it was the common advertising background that came in handy. He also recalled how Ray did not give him the script and expected him to know his role. He also walked around the Museum and said that the statue of Ray should not be semi-permanent but must be placed permanently in the main building.

Benegal also recalled the time he went to meet Ray, He was given a 30-minute time slot and thought he would be thrown out after that, but he sat for hours with him and it was a wonderful experience that culminated into the documentary he later made on the legend.

Composer-singer Shantanu Moitra hummed Ray’s music. Stating that Ray is an institution, he said that it still shakes his soul how he discovered him. He was impressed with the Museum’s collection and it was overwhelming to see the Propeller Projector based on Ray’s iconic film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne.

As part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting initiated various activities to pay tribute to the legendary filmmaker across the country.  The National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) held a three day film festival at various venues across India to celebrate his films. The screenings of films made by and on Ray were held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune. 15 films were screened at these venues and over 5000 people attended the screenings. The screenings at all venues were for free.

The event began with the red carpet and inauguration of the Satyajit Ray’s – The Poet of Cinema Gallery by Benegal followed by the screening of the opening film at the festival, Aparajito (2022), which was its India Premiere. The film is inspired by the making of Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, which was the closing film at the festival.

The highlights from the festival included the presence of Barun Chanda at the screening of Seemabaddha, who surprised the audience who were overjoyed to see him and engaged him in a fun question-and-answer session.

Aparajito received a standing ovation from the audiences and they were amazed at the research and perfection of the main lead. And Pather Panchali’s restored-in- New York-print was well appreciated. It is considered the most iconic film of Satyajit Ray.

Neeraja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, said, “We are touched by the incredible warmth audiences have shown for the birth centenary celebrations of Satyajit Ray across India. Ray’s films are universal, he’s a legend admired by all cinephiles the world over.”

Ravinder Bhakar, Managing Director, NFDC India, added, “It was joyous to know that over 5000 people attended the festival across all cities in India. This was very overwhelming.  Ray always connects with people. We will ensure that this momentum is kept up and we will keep coming up with many festivals and programs.”

Barun Chanda stated, “Overwhelmed to be at this spectacular museum, and the gallery dedicated to Satyajit Ray is a great tribute to the legend, I have penned a book on Ray. You can call this book, The Return Of Ray. For in its pages Ray comes alive as it were, like never before.”




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