Saturday, Mar 25, 2023

A Ray In Your Home

A Ray In Your Home

An artist and a filmmaker celebrate Satyajit Ray’s birth centenary in a quiet way and three stalwarts make a very watchable song to mark Hanuman Jayanti

Titled “Jai Hanuman”, the song composed by Rahul Sharma is a peppy, fast-paced, melodious and very well articulated piece of music that with its changing pace captures the spirit of the monkey god.

Celebrating Satyajit Ray’s centenary year in her own quiet way, artist Trina Mukherjee has been painstakingly creating memorabilia based on the auteur’s films. An enterprise that started last year, in September, Trina’s Bag of Bong creates handmade items that work on creating “nostalgia through art”.

Her tribute to Satyajit Ray is in the form of wall plates, coasters, all of which add colour and a touch of whimsy to any home. Using acrylic paint on clay or ceramic, she has reinterpreted characters, scenes from Ray’s films. The material is then baked, “double baked for food plates, single for wall plates”, then given a coat of varnish to fix the colours more firmly. “My plates are like posters,” the artist said, “but they are not copies but designs that answer my thought on how I would have made them if I had been commissioned to create the posters”. The result of a month-long exercise, her output has ten designs for wall plates, three for coasters. Jalsaghar and Sonar Kella are two inspirations for her series of creations.

Her products are beamed at the younger generation who might grow up with little or no exposure to the master’s work; or for those far away from Kolkata and longing for a bit of “home” in their homes. It seems to have worked for Trina has been getting requests for customised creations.

Trina’s work soon caught the attention of Srila Chatterjee, filmmaker and also the curator of Baro Market that has recently moved online to offer a range of products related to the Bengali ethos.

Srila has time and again held Ray-specific events. And for the centenary year, has rolled out a range of related products that range from Devi and Charulata blouses, Feluda cushions, Amol’s kurtas and now, Trina’s ceramic offerings.

“Three years ago, we held a weekend-long Charulata celebration in our store, Baro Market,” Srila says. We had mannequins dressed in costumes from Charulata, striped saris, decorative blouses with lace-edged sleeves, and men’s kurtas a la the character Amol. It was a huge hit.”

Baro Market also offers Kantha-worked baby garments by Aankara, in “the softest muslin with illustrations from Ray’s magazine Sandesh decorating the tiny garments”.  “It’s our way to pay homage to someone who is an inspiration and stood for the opposite of everything we see happening today,” Srila adds.

A treasure on offer for serious Ray fans comes in the fact that the site has five original posters of Ray’s films. Including Panther Panchali. “They are all certified originals,” Srila says.

For those interested in having a Ray of art at home, the sites to visit are: and Bag of Bong

Celebrating Hanuman

Music videos have their own lives. This is probably why film companies release videos created around the songs from their films, as stand-alone offerings. Most are just trailers, and can be treated as slick presentations that may or may not whet your appetite for the full movie, but the video that was released to mark Hanuman Jayanti last Monday with a song from the yet to be released movie Ramyug, was an exception, in my opinion, at least.

Mostly because it brought together three people who have their own, respective fan followings, and the video used them wonderfully together to create very watchable stuff.

It was quite a surprise indeed to see the formidable Mr Bachchan lend his voice to recite a version of the Hanuman Chalisa with other lines interspersed, accompanied by the santoor idol, Rahul Sharma and tabla wizard Zakir Husain. Titled “Jai Hanuman”, the song composed by Rahul Sharma is a peppy, fast-paced, melodious and very well articulated piece of music that with its changing pace captures the spirit of the monkey god; now restless, now mischievous, and yet always sublime.

Rahul Sharma changes moods with the music, as when Hanuman approaches Sita in the garden, the music switches to a soft playing of notes on the santoor and the song is softer in both tone and tune. There is no mention of the songwriter, so one supposes all of it is from Tulsidas. And surely, for the benefit of those who have not been exposed to the immortal poet’s original work, a credit line would be helpful.

But what makes the video outstanding is the fourth element, the visuals. The ever-moving fingers of a sand artist create images of Hanuman as the music rolls, and at times the music pauses expectantly as the sand flows through the artist’s hand to create yet another eloquent image.

You can catch this on MX Player where it is streaming free or on YouTube. And Bachchan fans already tuned in to his on-line sites can catch it as “Bachchan goes Live”. And here’s a link anyway:

(The writer was the editor of Femina for over a decade. Views expressed are personal.)