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Ray riches set to go online

Worldofray.com is the new global address for Ray fans. Saibal Chatterjee has the details.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2006 17:43 IST

Satyajit Ray and his fascinating world are all set to inch a little closer to the master’s fans strewn across the globe thanks to a soon-to-be-unveiled website devoted to the wide-ranging creative output of the versatile colossus.

The website, created by the Kolkata-based Ray Society, is scheduled for formal launch on August 26, the 51st anniversary of the release of the master’s internationally acclaimed first film, Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road).

According to filmmaker Sandip Ray, the late maestro’s son and member-secretary of the Ray Society, the new website, worldofray.com, has already been formally registered.

“Our aim,” says Sandip Ray, “is to make the site as user-friendly as possible. A dry academic website won’t work. You have to grab the attention of users through attractive giveaways.”

Satyajit Ray and his fascinating world are all set to inch a little closer to the master’s fans strewn across the globe thanks to a soon-to-be-unveiled website devoted to the wide-ranging creative output of the versatile colossus.

While delivering a blend of entertainment and information, the exhaustive website will provide Satyajit Ray admirers and scholars access to everything that they need to know about the man and his work.

Apart from audio and video clips from his classic films, worldofray.com will contain a range of sketchbooks, drawings and posters made by Ray during the different stages of his illustrious filmmaking and literary career.

The Ray Society (abbreviated from The Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films) was formed in the mid 1990s under the aegis of the Ray Film and Study Collection (Ray FASC) of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Somnath Chatterjee, Lok Sabha Speaker, is the president of The Ray Society.

Ray FASC currently holds as many as thirty 35mm titles and a large number of digitised sketchbooks, besides stills, posters, books, journals and articles on Ray and by Ray in ten world languages. The collection also has several hundred books illustrating Ray’s graphic art.

Ray FASC, with over ten thousand items in its kitty, is by far the world’s largest and most comprehensive archive on the filmmaker. The collection came into existence after UCSC celebrated Ray’s 70th birthday on May 2, 1991, with an exhibition of his artwork and books alongside the screening of one of his classic films.

According to Prof Dilip K Basu, prime mover and director of Ray FASC, 17 of the master’s films have already been restored and are now available for public distribution. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has committed millions of dollars to the restoration of the remaining Ray films.     

The multi-talented Ray – filmmaker, writer, music composer, graphic artist, illustrator, and designer – was a master storyteller and a consummate craftsman. Understandably, his body of work is humongous in multiple fields – cinema, film theory, literature, poster design and graphic art.

Few filmmakers in the annals of cinema have had as much control over the medium as Ray. He wrote his own screenplays, handpicked every single member of the cast, directed his films, composed the musical score, cranked the camera, did the production design, contributed actively to the editing of his films, and even designed his own credit titles and publicity material.

Indeed, the new website will be a whole world in itself – it will have something on offer for everybody.