Ray ban off, film on Sikkim to see light of day | india | Hindustan Times
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Ray ban off, film on Sikkim to see light of day

Believe it or not, a new film by Satyajit Ray is ready for release. Sikkim, Ray’s never-before-seen documentary on the mountain kingdom, will be seen for the first time at the 14th Kolkata Film Festival, reports Drimi Chaudhuri.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2008 00:55 IST
Drimi Chaudhuri

Believe it or not, a new film by Satyajit Ray is ready for release. Sikkim, Ray’s never-before-seen documentary on the mountain kingdom, will be seen for the first time at the 14th Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) on November 17.

Sources say it intended to show life in Sikkim, but suffered a double dose of censorship.

The then Union government had banned the documentary and destroyed all its known copies after Sikkim became an Indian state in 1975.

The Chogyal, or former King of Sikkim, had some scenes cut in 1975. The Indian government then saw the documentary as being dedicated to monarchy, particularly a scene where a crowd prostrated before the Chogyal.

While the Chogyal commissioned Ray to make the 60-minute documentary in 1971, it is said that not even Ray’s son, Sandip, has seen it. “For years it was thought that the film was lost forever. In January 2003, a good quality print was found with the British Film Institute. Acclaimed preservationist Joseph Lindner from the Academy of Motions Pictures Arts & Science painstakingly did the frame-by-frame digital restoration at nearly $250,000,” the source said.

The American Center, Kolkata, hosting the screening, has sought permission from the Chogyal, the producer, through the trust that handles copyright issues for the royal family, said American Center director Douglas G. Kelly.

“It will be a video preview. Although we’re digitally restoring Sikkim for a 35-mm screen, the screening will be in the DVD format since the master print won’t be restored before December 15,” said Lindner, who has also restored Ray classics like Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and Abhijaan.