When Satyajit Ray didn’t give me the script of Seemabhadha, he expected me to know my role: Barun Chanda

When Satyajit Ray didn’t give me the script of Seemabhadha, he expected me to know my role: Barun Chanda

On the occasion of birth centenary of Ray, his films were screened &  a panel discussion on his legacy & films was discussed with the stalwarts Shyam Benegal, Barun Chanda & Shantanu Moitra as panelists at the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC), Mumbai

Mr. Barun 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 & 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 be not semi-permanent and should be placed permanently in the Main building at the Museum.

Mr. Shyam Benegal recalled the time he went to meet Ray, He was given a thirty minutes time slot & 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.

Mr. Shantanu Moitra hummed & the audience were swayed & 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  & 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 & 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.

On the occasion of the commemoration of Satyajit Ray’s Birth Centenary & as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of Information & 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 (2nd to 4th May 2022) film festival at various venues across India to celebrate his films. The screening of films made by & made on Satyajit Ray, were held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru & Pune on big screens. Over 15 films were screened at these venues & over 5000 people attended the 15 film screenings. The screenings at all venues were for free & audiences appreciated the slate of films screened.

The event began with the red carpet & inauguration of the Satyajit Ray’s – The Poet of Cinema Gallery by the legendary Shyam Benegal followed by the screening of the opening film at the festival Aparajito(2022), which was its ‘India Premier’, 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 Shyam Benegal, Barun Chanda & Shantanu Moitra as panelists.

The highlights from the festival were –

‘Barun Chanda went to the screening of Seemabadha and surprised the audience who were overjoyed to see him immediately after the film and engaged him in fun questions and answers session.

‘Jeetu Kamal, playing Ray in Aparajito, ground his teeth and put caps to match the teeth structure of Satyajit Ray so much so that the mouth is yet to heal completely, that was discovered during the Q&A session of Aparajito, which received a raving standing ovation from the audiences & they were amazed at the research and perfection of the main lead. The film got its much expected love & accolades at its premier. 

Pather Panchali’s restored print from New York, USA was very well appreciated. Pather Panchali, is the most iconic film of Satyajit Ray and of India till date.’

Ms. Neeraja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said, “We are touched by the incredible warmth audiences have shown for the birth centenary celebrations of Satyajit Ray across India. Ray’s films are universal, he’s a legend admired by all cinephiles the world over.”

Mr. Ravinder Bhakar, Managing Director NFDC India, expressed that “It was joyous to know that over 5000 people attended the festival across all cities in India. This was very overwhelming; Relevance of Ray always connects with people. We will ensure that this momentum is kept and we will keep coming up with many festivals and programs.”

Mr. Barun Chanda, Actor & Author said, “Overwhelmed to be at this spectacular museum, and the gallery dedicated to Satyajit Ray is a great tribute to the legend, I have penned a book on Ray- You can call this book –The-return-of-Ray. For in its pages Ray comes alive as it were, like never before

Mt Shantanu Moitra, said that “It was a great moment to be part of the panelist alongside the legends Shyam Ji (Benegal) & Barun da (Chanda) & to speak on Ray, his cinema & the music was a highly learning experience. Ray’s cinema is unique in itself…& the Satyajit Ray Gallery set up at the museum looks amazing

The entire mood of the panel session was personal and intimate that intrigued audiences. It was heartening to see the younger audiences participating in the screenings & discussions.