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Workshop on Centenary Celebration of Satyajit Ray

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Celebrating greatness

On January 16, 2020 The Central Library of Brainware University and Brainware Group of Institutions organised an Online Workshop on Satabarshey Satyajit Ray (Centenary Celebration of Satyajit Ray) at 4.30 PM. A titan of mid-century art cinema, Satyajit Ray has left an indelible mark not only on Bengali consciousness but also on the global cinematic history. Akira Kurosawa, one of the world’s greatest film directors, famously remarked, “To not have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without the sun or the moon.” 2021 marks the birth centenary of this luminary of world cinema and it is fitting that this is the year we truly learn to honour Ray by appreciating the essence of his cinematic universe. Mr Debasish Mukhopadhyay was the facilitator of the workshop and helped the audience understand the inherent poetry of Ray’s cinematic language.

Mr Mukhopadhyay started the discussion by foregrounding the role played by Satyajit Ray’s avant-garde cinematography in the history of global cinema. “Ray had a remarkable ability to portray the quintessential Bengali sensibility onscreen. A quiet life lived in the midst of nature, the little joys and sorrows that make up our existence, Ray embedded such quiet moments with a profundity that was unheard of in Bengali cinema,” he said.

Discussing the most significant influences on Ray’s directorial sensibilities, Mr Mukhopadhyay remarked, “Ray’s teachers at Kala Bhavan, Nandalal Bose and Binode Behari Mukherjee, made lasting impressions on him and introduced him to traditional artistic styles. It was at Santiniketan that Ray developed a deep appreciation for nature which was reflected in his cinema.”

While discussing the cinematic language of Ray, Mr Mukhopadhyay analysed several key scenes from Ray’s first movie Pather Panchali. “In this film we see how integral nature is to the simple joys of country life in Bengal’s villages. Through a marvellous use of cinematography in the scene where Apu and Durga follow the candy man, Ray shows how even nature echoes the youthful exuberance of the children through the shot of the their reflection in pond where it seems as if the stray dogs and ducks are tagging along and looking for treats,” he explained.

Mr Mukhopadhyay urged the audience to, “engage in critical discussions of Ray’s work. Building monuments won’t mean as much as a true engagement with the spirit of his work. Let us keep him alive by watching, enjoying, and discussing his art.” The session ended with a short video tribute to Ray’s genius.

Watch Brainware University’s tribute to Satyajit Ray here: see video