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Satyajit Ray: the graphic artist

Satyajit Ray, the veteran filmmaker and artist is renowned for his cult films. Little known is the fact that he also had a wonderful hand in sketching, writes Sweta Kaushal. Google Doodle honours Satyajit Ray

movie reviews Updated: May 02, 2013 14:47 IST
Sweta Kaushal
Sweta Kaushal

Satyajit Ray, the veteran filmmaker and artist, is renowned for his cult films such as Pather Panchali (1955), Charulata (1964) and Ghare Baire (1984) among others.

Little discussed is the fact that he had a wonderful hand in sketching and worked for some of the best advertisements in initial world of commercial advertising in India.

It was around early 1940s that Ray joined the British advertising agency DJ Keymer and worked there as graphic artist for around 13 years (1943-1956).

Ray’s expertise introduced Indian motifs and culture in the advertisements being made in pre-independence days.

Some of his sketches from his stint in advertising industry are being showcased at the Centenary Film Festival organised by the information and broadcasting ministry.

One of his sketches for an ad for Chelsea cigarette tells a story in four blocks wherein a cricketer is unable to bowl well until after the lunch time when he smokes the cigarette and succeeds in taking wickets!

Another interesting sketch showcased at the film festival is one for Jabakusum - a cure for hair fall.

Ray sketched a woman scared of combs. The depiction of fear of the comb is simply arresting and so expressive that one almost ignores the text in the ad.

Another sketch for the same product shows a woman trying to escape the shower. Once again he succeeds in sketching a perfect picture of fear.

The exhibition is on till May 3, 2013.

Film directors (from L to R) British John Boorman, American Billy Wilder, Italian Michelangelo Antonioni and Satyajit Ray over coffee, 14 May 1982, during the 35th International Cannes Film festival. AFP

First Published: May 01, 2013 18:37 IST