The house in north Kolkata where film maestro Satyajit Ray grew up has been saved from land sharks, thanks to the efforts of the city civic body.
Year 1992: Late Satyajit Ray receives Special Oscar Award for lifetime achievement in filmmaking from Academy of Motion Pictures, USA posthumously. A rare feat on the Indian culture scene, Ray did India proud by becoming the First Indian to win the much-acclaimed international laurel.
Land sharks had been targeting the prime north Kolkata plot on Garfa Road for over a decade, notwithstanding the heritage status accorded to it. Their efforts were thwarted after the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities went all out to save the building.
The ownership has now passed into the hands of Atheneum Institute, which had bought the building for Rs.2.5 billion, of which the KMC paid the lion's share of Rs.1.5 billion from the heritage fund.
The Atheneum Institute plans to open a gallery to display the literary genius of three generations of Rays - Satyajit Ray, his father Sukumar, and his grandfather Upendrakishore.
Expressing his happiness at saving the 'historic building', KMC mayor Bikash Bhattacharya said the civic body would continue its endeavour to save the city's heritage.
The house finds mention in Satyajit Ray's book Jokhon Chhoto Chilum (When I Was Young). Ray had written vividly about the house, the Atheneum Institute, which was run on rent then, and a large mango tree, which still exists.