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The 'real' Satyajit Ray - caught on camera

He took Indian cinema to the world stage. But very few know that Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray while being a perfectionist was almost an "autocrat" when it came to filmmaking, right from scripting to camera handling to direction.

entertainment Updated: Oct 29, 2009 20:04 IST

He took Indian cinema to the world stage. But very few know that Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray while being a perfectionist was almost an "autocrat" when it came to filmmaking, right from scripting to camera handling to direction.

A rare series of photographs depicting the "real" Ray - the man and his passion - are currently being depicted at an exhibition hosted by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Bangalore.

Titled Satyajit Ray: From Script to Screen, it displays a suite of photographs by Nemai Ghosh who was closely associated with Ray. With 101 photos, the month-long exhibition was inaugurated by Jawahar Sircar, secretary in the union culture ministry Tuesday evening.

"Satyajit Ray is a film institution. Nobody can take his place. The exhibition is an attempt to discover the man and his work. We're grateful that Ghosh made an attempt to capture some of the most interesting moments from his life," Rajiv Lochan, director of NGMA, told IANS.

Narrating his close association with Ray, the director who made films like Pather Panchali, Ghosh said, "I was lucky. I came in touch with Ray during the beginning of my career in photography in 1968. I saw him closely while he was at work. Be it during the shooting schedule or while writing his scripts, he was like an autocrat. He took control of the entire cast and crew."

Most of the photographs at the exhibition depict Ray deeply engrossed in his work during the shooting of his films. Many of the film frames that Ray would sketch before proceeding with a shoot were snapped up by Ghosh and these photographs are now on display.

"These are rare moments from Ray's life and his works. He belonged to a rare breed of filmmakers who was a complete perfectionist. I spent hours with him, trying to know the real man the world knows as Satyajit Ray. My photographs are pieces of understanding of the real Ray," added Ghosh.

Ray, who shifted to filmmaking from advertising, directed 37 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts.

With his debut film Pather Panchali (1955), a modern-day Bengali classic, bringing into light rural life and its struggles, Ray brought worldwide attention to Indian cinema at large. Apart from an Oscar, Ray was honoured with several national and international awards. He passed away in 1992.