On the occasion of the commemoration of Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s birth centenary and as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of Information And Broadcasting has initiated various activities to pay tribute to the legendary filmmaker across the country.
The National Museum Of Indian Cinema (NMIC), Mumbai held a three-day film festival at various venues across India to celebrate his films. The screening of films made by and made on Satyajit Ray was held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune on big screens. Over 15 films were screened at these venues and over 5000 people attended the 15 film screenings. The screenings at all venues were for free and audiences appreciated the slate of films screened.
On the occasion, Ray’s films were screened and a panel discussion on his legacy and films was discussed with the stalwart filmmaker Shyam Benegal, veteran actor Barun Chanda and music composer Shantanu Moitra as panellists at the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC), Mumbai.
Chanda said how he wooed Ray to get a role in ‘Seemabhadha’, and it was the common advertising background that came in handy. He also recalled how Ray didn't give him the script of ‘Seemabhadha’ and expected him to know his role. And he spoke about the broken LP recorder that just didn’t work in the first meeting with Ray which embarrassed him immensely.
Further, he walked around the museum and also said that the statue of Ray to not be semi-permanent and should be placed permanently in the main building at the museum.
Benegal recalled the time he went to meet Ray. He was given a thirty minutes time slot and thought he will be thrown out after that but he sat for hours with him and it was a wonderful experience that culminated into the documentary he later made on the legend.
Moitra hummed and the audience swayed and were clapping. He said that Ray is an institution, and it still shakes his soul how he discovered him.
He expressed how he got opportunities to work with the three maestros of music – Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ali Akbar Khan. After working with these legends he had self-belief and became a music director himself. He was impressed with the museum’s collection and it was good fun for him and was also overwhelmed to see the propeller projector based on Ray’s iconic film ‘Goopy Gyna Bagha Byna’, and said that this was amazing stuff looking at the propeller projector.
The event began with the red carpet and inauguration of Satyajit Ray’s – The Poet Of Cinema Gallery by Benegal followed by the screening of the opening film at the festival ‘Aparajito’ (2022), which was its India premiere. The film is inspired by the making of Satyajit Ray's ‘Pather Panchali’, which was the closing film at the festival.
Post the closing film, a panel discussion was held moderated by Sankhayan Ghosh who had an interactive session with the stalwarts Benegal, Chanda and Moitra as panellists.