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Satyajit Ray (1982)

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Title: Satyajit Ray (1982)

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October 1985 (USA)  »

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Informative, but not as in-depth account as I would have liked
7 June 2011 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Satyajit Ray is my favorite filmmaker. And I was eager that get a know more about him and his movies.

As the movie starts, we watch Satyjit Ray directing a movie. As I am not just a film viewer, this part didn't really had any significance for me.

The we move on to a short biography on Satyajit Ray. His home, his upbringing, his family etc and how many of that is reflected in his films. We see the scenes from Apu Trilogy, Charulata and his other films while listening to his biography. Benegal seems to indicate that some of Ray's work was autobiographic.

Then we move to the meat of the movie. A series of interviews between Ray and Benegal. Ray comes across as a humble guy, but one who is fully aware of his genius. Benegal asks him a lot of questions, some of which I was really curious about. Like the difference between his earlier and his later films. Sources of his unique cinematic interpretations. His influences and his contemporaries in India and abroad.

I was a little surprised when Ray gave a big credit to the writer Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay on whose novels Apu Trilogy is based. He gave him credit for many of the cinematic scenes which somebody unaware with the source material would have attributed to Ray. He also quashed the notion of autobiographical parts in his movies, as most of his earlier movies are based on some source material. He also talked about other Indian directors and the his Bengali audience. I think sometimes he felt trapped as he had to make movies for lowest common denominator. He was the most radical director in India, but I felt he could have done much more if he had a more appreciative audience.

Though the movie was informative, it felt more like a series of interviews rather than an in-depth documentary. I also would have liked to know more about his parting ways with his cinematographer Subrata Mitra. I think his later films suffered because of that.


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