This book adds to the body of critical work around Satyajit Ray’s films. Nag’s earlier book had Soumitra Chatterjee talking candidly about twenty of his best roles. In this book, Nag continues the thread to include the voices and roles of other actors/actresses in Ray’s films, exploring their characterisations and the reasons some stand out in memory.
So, readers will reacquaint themselves with Apu and Durga, Charu, Arindam and Siddhartha, among others. Wherever he has access, Nag includes excerpts from interviews he has conducted, or from reference material, letting the actor talk about his interactions with Ray and his own approach to a role. Adding to our understanding of the characters and the artistes are Ray’s own statements. So we learn that Ray wrote the screenplay for Jalsaghar keeping the great Chhabi Biswas specifically in mind to play Biswambhar Roy, despite initially being wary of his acting, because he had, “that tenor of an aristocratic patriarch”. Interestingly, Ray is dismayed to know during shooting that Biswas cannot ride a horse, and the man being portrayed as a connoisseur of classical music is tone deaf.