Finally, Satyajit Ray goes online for cine enthusiasts ...

Indo-Asian News Service

imageKolkata, (IANS) Indian cinema's versatile genius Satyajit

Ray, who was conferred the Lifetime Oscar in 1992 when he was at his

deathbed, now goes virtually global with the launch of a comprehensive

website on his work and life., a comprehensive 250-page website with every

aspect of the life and times of the maestro, is the Satyajit Ray

Society's tribute to the most venerated Bengali after Rabindranath

Tagore and the creator of the Apu trilogy.

The site, which comes 14 years after his death, is full of rare

photos of the shooting of his films, stills from his celluloid gems,

anecdotes and other information, including rare cover designs of his

books and film posters.

It offers a rare glimpse into Ray's original sketches in 1950 that

became the storyboard of the ground breaking 1955 film "Pather

Panchali" ("Ballad of the Road").

Ray joined the British advertising agency D.J. Keymer in Kolkata in

1943 as a junior designer, a job that helped him bloom into a graphic

artist, typographer, book-jacket designer and illustrator.

He went to London in 1950 on a commission from the company and saw

many films, including Vittorio De Sica's "Ladri di biciclette" ("The

Bicycle Thief", 1948) and Jean Renoir's "La R?gle du jeu" ("Rules of

the Game", 1939), which made abiding impressions.

According to the site, while returning from London by sea, Ray

illustrated a children's edition of "Pather Panchali", a semi-

autobiographical novel by noted Bengali author Bibhuti Bhushan


The sketches became storyboard elements when he made the film from

the novel.

The release of "Pather Panchali" in 1955 brought Satyajit Ray

instant international and national recognition and changed the language

of Indian cinema forever as he went on to make two sequels of the

character Apu - "Aparajito" and "Apur Sansar".

The site also has information about Sandesh, the four-generation-old

children's magazine that has become synonymous with the family of

Satyajit Ray.

It was the first successful periodical for young people in Bengal,

launched by Ray's grandfather Upendrakishore in 1913, the year

Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize for his collection of

poems "Gitanjali".

During a recent launch of the site in Kolkata, the Satyajit Ray

Society, which hosted the site, made an earnest appeal to the West

Bengal government for a piece of land or an existing structure that

could be turned into a Ray Museum.

The society also appealed for restoration of the works of Ray, whose

films made another contemporary Japanese genius Akira Kurosawa comment

"not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without

seeing the sun or the moon".

Filmmaker, son and Ray Society secretary Sandip Ray said: "We would

make an earnest appeal to the West Bengal government to give us a piece

of land or existing structure that can be appropriately adapted to suit

our requirements."

"We would also appeal to the centre in the ministries concerned with

information and culture to renew the kind of support they had once

arranged for us, but did not fructify because of technical hitches,"

added society president D.N. Ghosh.

Ghosh outlined a five-point agenda for restoration work of Ray's


While 17 films, of the 36 gems of Ray, have been restored under the

existing arrangements with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and

Science Archives, the Ray Society would be given one copy of the

restored print provided the society has a vault that meets the

stringent international quality standards for safe storage.

"We therefore need a vault that can house not only the films that

have been restored but all the remaining available films for which a

good deal of work remains to be done," he said.

The Ray Society also plans to build a museum in Kolkata dedicated to

Ray. "Our aim is not have just a vault for the films but make it an

integral part of his legacy that will hold the entire cultural legacy

of Ray," he said.

"Then we would like to built an auditorium and a space to built a

gallery on Ray," he added.

"Finally, we also envisage a study centre and library in the museum

along with facilities for scholars from across the globe to come and

conduct research on Ray."

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