An evening with Satyajit Ray

An evening with Satyajit Ray

BIFFES artistic director N Vidyashankar (extreme right); film critic Manu Chakravarthy (second from right); and general secretary, Satyajit Ray Film Society, Madhushree Sengupta, during a discussion at IISc on Sunday. DH PHOTO/B H Shivakumar

Once Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese filmmaker, said: "To live without seeing the films of Indian director Satyajit Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."

The Satyajit Ray Film Society, Bengaluru, in association with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Film Society on Sunday held a screening of the acclaimed film director's 'The Apu Trilogy' in Bengaluru. The three-film series consisted of 'Pather Panchali', 'Aparajito' and 'Apur Sansar'.

Each of the movies was punctuated by panel discussions, where film critics Manu Chakravarthy and N Vidyashankar brought to fore Ray's cinematic textures.

For decades, his work was watched on substandard prints. The Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1992 Academy Awards brought them global attention. However, the negatives of the trilogy, sent to the Anderson lab in London, got burnt in a fire accident.

The Academy, in collaboration with renowned directors Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Coen Brothers and Criterion Film, took the humongous task of digitally restoring the trilogy, which took about five years. In 1995 and later in 2015, the films were re-released throughout the United Sates and Europe.

Vidyashankar, also the director of the Bangalore International Film Festival, said The Apu Trilogy changed Indian society. "Populist films are escapists and hide our country and society in the name of entertainment. But Satyajit Ray brought forward the true picture of the society. He brought India into Indian cinema," he said.

Chakravarthy said the neo-realism school of thought influenced Ray's movies. "The Apu Trilogy is an attempt at creating the experiential reality of India. He contested the notion of reality at the same time by interrogating the society and its norms," he said.

Madhushree Sengupta, general secretary, Satyajit Ray Film Society, said the screening was an attempt to develop a taste of good films among the audience.


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