SATYAJIT RAY

Satyajit Ray would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, perhaps in his favourite city Kolkata. I remember what he said about his favorite city “I love Calcutta. I have lived here all my life. The best of whatever is being done in the arts in India is being done here. There is a great intellectual vitality ….. only filmmaking has not attracted many intellectuals, yet from a film maker’s point of view no city could be better.”

This is how he described his workplace: “The studios in Calcutta show their hallowed past in every crevice on the wall, in every tatter of the canvas that covers the ceiling… The floor is pitted, the camera groans as it turns, the voltage begins to drop…The general air of shabbiness is unnerving… And yet I do not mind these at all. I don’t think of these as hindrances…It is the bareness of means that forces us to be economical and inventive and prevents us from turning craftsmanship into an end in itself. And there is something about creating beauty in circumstances of shoddiness and privation that is truly exciting.”

This is how he described himself: “I never imagined that I’d become a film director, in command of situations, actually guiding people to do things this way or that. I was very reticent and shy as a schoolboy and I it persisted through college. Even the fact of having to accept a prize gave me goose pimples and things.”