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Satyajit Ray's writings on cinema to be released

Deep Focus, a book by Satyajit Ray, is a collection of rare articles penned by the internationally acclaimed filmmaker on Charlie Chaplin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Goddard and Bengal’s matinee idol Uttam Kumar, along with writings on the film festivals he attended. Shyam Benegal and the Ray Society will

books Updated: Jan 11, 2012 09:08 IST
Deep

Deep Focus, a book by Satyajit Ray, is a collection of rare articles penned by the internationally acclaimed filmmaker on Charlie Chaplin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Goddard and Bengal’s matinee idol Uttam Kumar, along with writings on the film festivals he attended. Shyam

Benegal and the Ray Society will launch it on January 28 in Kolkata. “Shyam Benegal has written the forward and will be giving a memorial lecture on ‘baba’ (father) and screening his film, Satyajit Ray, Filmmaker (1982), followed by an interaction,” informs his son Sandip Ray, who has edited the book, a joint publication of the Ray Society and Harper Collins.

He points out that the first collection, Our Films, Their Films, had been planned when Ray was still alive and was even edited by him. Since there were several articles that had not made it to the book, Deep Focus was conceived. “While planning the book we had sent word out to the many Ray aficionados in the country and around the world that we were looking for writings by him. The response was overwhelming and I was surprised by how many articles were sent across. Several of them haven’t made it to the book, but are worth a read, which is why we have already started planning for a second volume,” admits Sandip.

And that’s not all. On January 30, 2007, a paperback titled Satyajit Ray: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers) had been released. Sandip says that another book on the same lines could arrive in the stores soon, comprising interviews conducted by his father. It could include a conversation with Elia Kazan described by the New York Times as “one of the most honoured and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history.”

Kazan visited Ray’s Lake Road residence in Kolkata in 1963 and the two had a cerebral chat on films including Kazan’s own works, A Gentleman’s Agreement (’48) and On The Water Front (’55), both of which bagged him an Oscar for Best Director and A Street Car Named Desire (’51) that won the Special Jury Award at the Venice Film Festival.

Marlon Brando also met Ray during a visit to Kolkata. The Hollywood actor reportedly left his “suffocating” room at the Hotel Oberoi Grand to take a stroll down Chowringhee Road with his director friend. The two ended at Firpos bakery exchanging thoughts on movies over coffee. Book on Royal Bengal Rahasya

Sandip himself is thinking of coming out with a book on the making of his latest Feluda film, Royal Bengal Rahasya, that is packing in the crowds in Kolkata since it opened on December 23. Earlier, his Aami Aar Feluda, ghostwritten by Sebabrata Banerjee and first published as a series in the magazine Sukhi Grihokon, had been a bestseller at the Kolkata Book Fair.

It was a behind-the-scenes account of all the Feluda movies, including the tele-series Satyajit Ray Presents,

“This book will also include reports and anecdotes from the shoots. Also, my screenplay and the original story, Royal Bengal Rahasya (The Royal Bengal Myster), ‘baba’ had penned and which was first published in the Durga Puja autumn special of the Bengali periodical Desh in 1974 and then in book form by Anand Publishers a year later. There will also be plenty of working stills,” informs the composer-director. “It should be out in the next two-three months.”

Other books on cinema by Ray

Our Films, Their Films (1976, US edition in 1994): A collection of articles on Indian, European, Asian, Russian and Hollywood cinema, including aspects of Ray’s craft, his encounters with Renoir and Kurosawa, new wave and old masters and silent films. In ’83, Tony Mayers translated it in French as Ecrits sur le Cinéma.

My Years With Apu (’94): In this book Ray shares his excitement and worries while making the Apu trilogy.

Pather Panchali (’84): Original screenplay of his debut movie.

The Apu Trilogy (’85): Ray collaborated with Shampa Banerjee to publish the screenplays of Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar.

The Chess Players And Other Screenplays (’89): Edited by Andrew Robinson, the book also comprises a preface by Satyajit Ray and a translation from the Bengali short story Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Player), where each screenplay is introduced with stills and original illustrations.