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Satyajit Ray is the tallest Indian figure in world cinema. Retrospectives across the globe, perhaps even more than at home, have kept his legacy alive. But how do we understand his cinema in the context of a vastly different world? What keeps great cinema from becoming dated? What are the particularities of Ray’s movies that cause them to endure?
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay’s literary engagement with Ray’s cinema spans years. In this book, he revisits each one of Satyajit Ray’s thirty-nine feature films, shorts and documentaries to investigate their cinematic and social context. He also speaks to a number of the master’s collaborators as well as other directors and critics to truly understand Ray and his work.
Packed with delightful anecdotes and fresh insights, and rare photographs from and of his films, The Cinema of Satyajit Ray is an essential book for every cinephile’s library.
‘Ray’s greatest strength was his power of suggestion’ – Aparna Sen
‘Satyajit Ray did not believe in God’ – Dhritiman Chaterji
‘In his films, Satyajit Ray has never shown any ugliness.’ – Madhabi Mukherjee
‘Agantuk was the culmination of one of the most illustrious careers in cinema history’ – Mamata Shankar
‘Ray never compromised his narrative for the sake of his politics’ – Neeraj Ghaywan
‘Ray was a polymath talent, but the flip side of that is being a bit of a control freak’ – Oliver Craske
‘Whenever I travel abroad, wherever there is good cinema, people know me because of Devi’ – Sharmila Tagore
‘Satyajit Ray was not a documentarist by choice.’ – Shyam Benegal
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is an author, translator and screenwriter who lives and works in Bangalore, India. His translations include 14: Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray (HarperCollins, 2014) and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s Aranyak (Penguin Random House, 2022). He has novelised Satyajit Ray’s seminal film Nayak too (HarperCollins, 2018). His own works include the novels Patang (Hachette, 2016), Here Falls the Shadow (Hachette, 2017) and The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira (Hachette, 2018).