Speaking of Films – A Book Review

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The late Satyajit Ray frequently communicated lament about the absence of value composing on film by its own particular professionals. Filmmaking is such a demanding process that directors – especially those who keep up a steady output – rarely have time to assemble their thoughts” he said. Time requirements aren’t the major thing; generally leading directors have a tendency to be hesitant to talk about their own particular work finally, considerably less expound on cinema in general. Anyway Ray himself is one of the special cases. Non-Bengali book lovers could be acquainted with his prior work, ‘Our Films, Their Films’, a gathering of papers that was initially distributed in 1976. Right away we have ‘Speaking of Films’, an interpretation of an accumulation referred to in Bengal as ‘Bishay Chalachitra’.

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It’s set aside a puzzlingly long time for the first English rendition of ‘Bishay Chalachitra’ (Speaking of Films) to show up, yet it was worth the hold up: Gopa Majumdar’s interpretation is perfect, holding all the qualities we take up with the chief – delicate yet firm, avuncular, educational yet conversational. In the 18 expositions gathered here, Ray blankets points extending from the historical backdrop of Bengali silver screen to the essentialness of ambient sounds in a film (“in India the issue an author must face is not one of lack yet of plenitude”). There are reflections on extraordinary chiefs of the past, individual flashes into the changes of the filmmaking methodology, and accounts, in the same way as the amusingly indistinguishable one about Kanu Banerjee – ‘Pather Panchali’s Harihar – destroying a shot by more than once saying “mohanbagan” (the football club) rather than “mohanbhog” (the sweet). Beam additionally utilizes the situations of some of his films to enlighten the issues in interpretation from page to screen. Also there are moving particular profiles, taking into account his encounters with the unseeing painter Benode Bihari and with the phenomenal Chunnibala Devi, whose execution as the old Pishi in Pather Panchali was one of the inexplicable occurrences of screen acting (and of serendipitous cast selection).

The expert executive examines, at some length, the union between structure and substance: the two qualities should in a perfect world work as one, he says, however it is conceivable for a few movies to seek to high creative accomplishment even with a wealth of one quality in respect to the next; the somberness of the Japanese chief Ozu (who declined to utilize even broadly acknowledged artistic gadgets like the disintegrate and the dish) can exist together with the blissful experimentation of Nouvelle Wave enfant terribles like Truffaut and Godard. In the meantime, nonetheless, Ray sounds a preventative cautioning to the individuals who might try to break secured artistic standards without a reasonable understanding of them, “for the formation of new runs obliges an intensive learning of the old ones”. This paper, composed in the late 1960s, has a solid contemporary thunder, given the dilettantism and the “anything goes” state of mind we see such a large amount of today.


Indeed Ray’s greatest fans here and there feel estranged by the levels of flawlessness the man arrived at (subsequently the much of the time voiced inclination for the unpredictable splendor of Ritwik Ghatak over the cleaned artfulness of Ray’s best movies). This stretched out to his particular direct too; he never took on the likeness of the sort who might, case in point, condescend to take an interest in a chaotic verbal fight. In that connection it’s enjoyable to see him tackle pundits who composed uncharitable things about ‘Apur Sansar’ and ‘Charulata’. The incidental hints of fractiousness in Ray’s tone here are more captivating than his counterarguments (which are splendidly made at any rate).

However, these little sights of irritability in any case, just about everything Ray did was checked by compassion. His capacity to see different sides of a civil argument (reflected in the unlimited elegance of his films, where even in circumstances of amazing clash and turmoil, one can identify with the binds of a few distinctive characters) brings extravagance and profundity to his written work. Once in a while has a significant executive been so liberal in articulating his contemplations, not just about his movies and the film of his nation, additionally about the historical backdrop of the medium and how it has been impacted by societal sceneries in diverse areas. For this, and for the transparency and perceptiveness with which he did it, we can keep on being thankful.

Ayan Deb

Ayan Deb

Ayan, the Editor-in-chief of Rhododendron.in is one of the most talented individuals in our board of Authors. He has been the PRO of Sharbari Dutta, the famous bengali Fashion designer. His sense of aesthetics and art oozes out in his writings and in his portraits.
Ayan Deb
Ayan DebSpeaking of Films – A Book Review

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