Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Revisiting Ray

Main Entrance to SRFTI
The day began with me calling a friend who wanted to visit SRFTI - Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute. No names here, because he wishes to remain anonymous.

So anyhow he wanted to know if I would like to accompany him and with my new found love for blogging, any visit any where brings with itself a promise of a story. Besides, I have long been a great admirer and fan of "Manik Da" as he was dearly known in the film industry. I can rightly claim that I have seen all his films and have thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of cinema through his lens. Hence, I readily agreed and after a quick shower, we were on our way.

You can visit the SRFTI website, if you want more information. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a dear friend Yoshodeep, presently settled in Indianapolis, IN. He is the one who introduced me to Ray movies and opened the windows to a beautiful world for me, otherwise unknown to me at that point in my life. Yosho and I are huge fans of a Ray special - Nayak, having watched it at least a few times and having analyzed it even more.  What say Yosho ?

Ray always believed in the adage 'God lies in the details'. To give you a little sampling of Ray's genius, below are few pages from his "Khero-Khata" a.k.a Ray's workbook. These have been reproduced from a collector's edition Nayak DVD which is a treasured part of my movie collection. 

You can see how detailed the story boards were, starting from the costume design, to the exact seating of each character in the train coach (the movie is set in the newly launched Rajdhani Express - from Calcutta to Delhi).

SRFTI has a sprawling campus which also houses the hostel facilities for resident students and I must say they have done a good job at keeping the campus green and clean. We went around the campus freely, uninterrupted and clicked some pictures and here they are to share ...

Main Building

Sprawling Campus
Tree lined

Dean's Office

How green was my valley 

Living with a legend !
Not having visited SRFTI before today, there was at least one thing that I got to take home from this visit. Every day at 6 pm they have short films which are screened at the "Preview Theater" in the campus. These are mostly short films that have traveled the world over in festival circuits and such. This is part of the syllabus for the students of SRFTI. They have special screenings on Saturdays. All screenings are free of charge, and all are welcome. The poster on the right (was pinned on to the bulletin board) was for a film that was screened this past Saturday. Being the film buff that I am, this goes on my weekend calendar.

Finally as tribute to the maestro, here is a video clip, which most of you have probably already seen. But if any of you haven't this is the "Apu-Durga" train scene often considered a landmark in the history of cinema. Please be patient, it is a 4 minute video, watch out for Durga's expressions and see if you can sense the "train coming ...."

Sorry could not embed the video here, as embedding has been disabled by this YouTube contributor, but here is the link to it.

Now all this blogging has whetted my appetite for another dark Ray classic : "Jana Aranya" a.k.a  "The Middleman".

Good night and good luck !


  1. are doing a great job putting across different aspects of Calcutta...i like you writing style as well...keep it up!

  2. Hello Tapan - thanks a lot for stopping by this blog and your encouragement. This will fuel my itch for doing something creative for a City which has given me, everything I am today.

    In words of JFK - "Ask what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you" !

    Am curious - do you belong to Calcutta as well ?
    If you like what you see, please become an "official" follower of the blog, by clicking on the "Follow" link on the sidebar.

    Cheers and let us keep in touch friend !

  3. @Tapan - Also you may wish to check out my 'other' blog - Thanks again !


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