Kerala’s Kochi is hosting an intriguing exhibition on the life and works master filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The Ray Centenary Show jointly organized by Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC) on the occasion of the birth centenary of the world-renowned filmmaker, at Durbar Hall Art Centre displays a number of letters written by the renowned filmmaker, photographs from his locations and posters and book covers designed by him.
A major attraction of the show is the costumes used in the film ‘Shatranj ke Khilari’, courtesy Suresh Jindal, the producer of the film which is Ray’s first attempt in Hindi. The never-seen-before letters written by Ray to his ardent fan Debjani Ray also make it one of the most comprehensive exhibitions on the genius.
The exhibition puts on display on a massive scale the lesser-known aspects of Ray’s work, including first-edition lobby cards, pressbooks, posters, and book covers with the intent to introduce a new audience to the brilliance of Ray's designs and divulging the process of his fastidious mind at work.
This is the third volume of the exhibition. “A centenary show is a testament to the pertinence of an artist even after 100 years. The relevance of the works of a giant like Satyajit Ray has only evolved with time. The splendour of his genius remains untarnished. Kolkata Centre for Creativity (KCC) is glad to present The Satyajit Ray Centenary Show (Volume III), in collaboration with the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, and our partners— Gallery Rasa, Suresh Jindal, and Debjani Ray.
“The exhibition not only focuses on Ray’s work — his multifaceted genius, but also on his personality through a series of photographs and never-seen-before letters. Bromide prints by ace photographers Nemai Ghosh and Tarapada Banerjee capture Ray behind the camera, guiding and instructing the actors between shots, sketching, recording or perfecting a prop, and also basking and brooding behind the scenes and in solitude. These photographs unwrap, layer by layer, the many moods of the man behind the icon, mitigating the distance of a hundred years. Similarly, in the letters written to his young pen-friend, Debjani Ray, the air of casual simplicity and humility laced with a rather deceptive immediacy provide a deep insight into Ray’s charming personality and dynamic nature; harking back to the image-text nexus that is essential to Ray— the writer, illustrator, designer and filmmaker,” the curatorial note reads.
Kerala Industries and Law minister P Rajeev inaugurated the month-long show on Sunday. He said Ray marked India's place in the world cinema as his movies were expressions of persistent transformation and creativity.
At the function presided over by Kochi Mayor M Anil Kumar, filmmaker and cinematographer Shaji N Karun delivered the keynote address. “Ray was lonely and thus a good listener, but as he was a great artist, he never resorted to cynicism,” Karun said. He also recalled his convocation of 1974 at Pune Film Institute when Ray was the chief guest. Ray wanted to see his diploma movie and mentioned his name in his speech, he said.
Artist Surendran Nair was honoured on the occasion. KCC Visual Arts Head Sidharth Sivakumar, Kolkata-based documentary maker Joshy Joseph, Mini S Menon, Kendra Sahitya Akademi award-winning Bengali translator Sunil Naliyath, Akademi chairman Murali Cheeroth and secretary N Balamuralikrishnan also spoke on the occasion.
On September 27 at 5 pm, a presentation will be held by Pinaki De on ‘A Fine Balance: Sense of form in Ray’s graphic design’ while on September 28 at 5 pm Drithiman Chatterjee and Tinnu Anand will involve in an online debate on the topic ‘Post Ray’.
On October 2, 12 and 16, three Ray classics will be screened. The screening will be held at 5.30 pm. On October 6 at 5 pm, the book on Ray’s films titled ‘Prapanjam Prathiphalikkunna Jalakanam’ written by renowned film critic C S Venkiteswaran and published by SPCS will be released as part of the festival. As part of the show, a discussion will also be held involving Girish Kasaravally, Gautam Ghosh and Shaji N Karun which will be moderated by Samik Bandyopadhyay on October 23.