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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Call Them Geniuses

Unpublished stories, translations, rare sketches and a screenplay—three generations of Rays shine with undimmed radiance

Call Them Geniuses
Call Them Geniuses
outlookindia.com
2021-08-06T15:33:55+05:30

Though the book is called 3 Rays, unsurprisingly one dominates—Satyajit. This collection brings Satyajit the translator to the fore, with his rendition of his grandfather Upendrakishore, his father Sukumar, his own short stories and a few scripts into English. It also includes previously unpublished works, including stories written in English. It has been edited by Sandip Ray with new material from his father’s notebooks.

Upendrakishore and Suku­mar both wrote for children and Satyajit followed in their footsteps. The book has Ray’s script for Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, based on Upendra­kishore’s story and has illus­trations by both Ray and his grandfather, showing the depth of Upendra­kishore’s influence. Waiting in an airport lounge, Satyajit began to translate his father’s Abol Tabol; his version of Nonsense Rhymes displays a flexibility of language that later translators might have done well to follow. Ray’s translations were first published by Samar Sen in Now magazine and later by P. Lal’s Writer’s Workshop.

The greater part of 3 Rays foc­uses on short stories. Their themes are typical of his work, like that of the child who displays unexpected brilliance and arouses greed or despair, which will remind many of Mukul in Sonar Kella. Ray feels that those who have greatness thrust on them do not aspire to it, especially ‘Khoka’, who discovers a seemingly drastic cure for his brilliance so that he can go back to his everyday life. This is reflec­ted in two Professor Shonku diaries, one focusing on Artificial Intelligence and the other on a super intelligent crow, bridging the divide between the animal, mechanical and human. Ray clearly feels that those with talent should not be put on display just because they are...

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