Lying scattered in dailies, magazines, film bulletins and publications which are now extinct, some long-lost articles by Satyajit Ray have been compiled in a book form.
Rich with images like film and production stills, rare portraits of Ray and a substantial number of sketches and photographs by the great director, Deep Focus: Reflections on Cinema reveals his views on names like Charlie Chaplin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Goddard and Bengal's matinee idol Uttam Kumar.
An outcome of an intensive research over many months, the collection of essays by Ray has been published by HarperCollins in association with the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films.
This is the Oscar-winning director's second book on cinema in English, appearing 35 years after the publication of his first one, Our Films Their Films (1976).
This book brings together some of his most cerebral writings on film and even gives the readers a peek into his experiences at film festivals.
Ray pens an ode to silent cinema, discusses the problems in adapting literary works to film, and expresses his views on other great directors such as Godard, Antonioni, Bergman, Chaplin as also on Uttam Kumar who played the lead in his Nayak (The Hero) and Chiriakhana (The Zoo).
It not only reveals Ray's engagement with cinema, but also provides an invaluable insight into the mind of a genius.
Starting with an early essay that predates his filmmaking (1949) all the way to the last part of his career, Ray displays a remarkably consistent view of the cinema he favoured.
The book containing 22 essays and talks is edited by Ray's filmmaker son Sandip in association with Dhritiman Chaterji, Deepak Mukerjee, Arup K De and Debasis Mukhopadhyay.
The essays have been culled from publications like The Statesman, Amrita Bazar Patrika, Hindustan Standard, Link, Filmfare, Sight & Sound, Sunday and Mainstream. The oldest of the article dates back to 1949.
Eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who earlier made a documentary on the life of Ray, has contributed a foreword to the book.
"His reflections and thoughts give us a wonderful insight into the nature of his aesthetics; the extraordinary ability he had of absorbing and internalising folk and classical traditions both of the West and East to find a contemporary and modern voice," he writes.
Describing it as a valuable addition to the not too many worthwhile books on Indian cinema, he says the book also opens yet another window to a deeper appreciation of his films.
Sandip Ray says many of his father's invaluable writings still lie scattered in newspapers and magazines both in India and abroad.
"We had no idea exactly how many of them existed. My father never made a meticulous effort to preserve his published writings," he points out, adding that their search for Ray's writings is still on.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.