Kolkata: Satyajit Ray “is the tallest, greatest and biggest filmmaker that India has produced and he stands tall even amongst International film-makers for his creativity,” said Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a multiple award winning film director, known for Malayalam masterpieces , such as Swayamvaram, Mukhamukham among many others.
Gopalakrishan was addressing a gathering of luminaries from the fields of arts, culture, science and politics at Kalamandir auditorium in Kolkata on the occasion of the birth centenary celebrations of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray here on Monday.
Gopalakrishan spoke about his first experience of seeing Ray’s classic film, Pather Panchali, without subtitles in 1958 along with one of his professors, and said he felt he was seeing a realist film where characters do not have any makeup. At that time Ray was known as a student from Shantiniketan who had made a film that had bagged some awards.
“Ray’s realism was unique. He was a realist filmmaker of the highest order,” said the filmmaker, who hails from Kerala.
Well-known film critic Shamik Bandyopadhyay also recalled how Ray, despite his failing health, had come to watch the special screening of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s film at Gorky Sadan in Kolkata.
Well-known linguist Pabitra Sarkar said they were lucky to be grown up in the 1950s when cultural creativity was at its peak. Ray’s talent exploded in the late 50s, with Pather Panchali, which was followed by many masterpieces by filmmakers such as Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Tapan Sinha, Tarun Majumdar among others.
Among others who spoke on the occasion was film actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, who also ushered in the guests that included actor Biplab Chattopadhyay, theatre director Ashok Mukhopadhyay , social activist Saira Shah Halim , filmmaker Kamaleshwar Mukherjee among others.
A short film on the life and works of Ray, directed by Manish Ghosh, was also screened. The programme also saw participation of school children, who were winners of the different competitions in over 3,000 schools, who were given trophies and certificates.
Earlier in the day, Gopalakrishnan also visited Ray’s residence at Bishop Lefroy Road with the organisers of the event and handed over a portrait painting of Ray by artist Biswanath Chakraborty to his son, film director Sandip Ray.
Later, a music and dance event, directed by music composer Kalyan Sen Barat, highlighting East-West confluence in the music of Ray’s films, was performed. The evening ended with Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s song ‘Hum Dekhenge’, beamed on the stage, giving a surreal flavour to the experience.