Satyajit Ray was a ruthless director, says son Sandip

Two decades after the legendary Satyajit Ray's death, his son says the skill of being a "ruthless director" that he has inherited from his father is a prime reason for his success as a filmmaker.

Sunday, April 01, 2012 | 10:55:53 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Two decades after the legendary Satyajit Ray's death, his son says the skill of being a "ruthless director" that he has inherited from his father is a prime reason for his success as a filmmaker.

"I have learnt several things from my father and the crew members of his team, which have helped me. But one thing which has helped me is that he used to say that a director has to be ruthless and he should never have any fancy for any scene or shot which was done meticulously," Sandip Ray told IANS in an exclusive interview.

"He used to say that a director has to be flexible and should make fatless movies. I still remember his words that a director cannot bore the audience," he added.

According to Sandip, Satyajit Ray's ability to buck the trend, coupled with a strong subject matter and simple story telling helped him to churn out classics which are considered benchmarks for world class movies.

Satyajit Ray, India's first and only Oscar-winning director, with his timeless classic like the "Apu Triology", "Jalsaghar", "Sonar Kella", "Charulata", and "Shatranj Ke Khiladi" captured the attention of movie buffs both nationally and internationally. Born in May 1921, he passed away in April 1992.

Baptised in the art of film making as assistant director to his father, Sandip made his debut film "Fatikchand" in 1983. As Ray became ill after a heart attack, Sandip became the director of photography in the master's last three films - "Ganashatru", "Shakha Proshakha" and "Agantuk".

In 1991, Sandip directed the third part of the Goopy Bagha Trilogy "Goopy Bagha Phire Elo" with music scored by Ray and story by the father-son duo.

Sandip agrees that his father's status of a legendary director made things difficult for him initially.

"Yes, it is true that initially it used to disturb me a bit, I used to be extra cautious. There is an extra pressure when you are son of such a great filmmaker. But later on I stopped thinking about it and, yes, I do feel happy that I have been able to create a place for myself," he said.

With movies like "Nishijapon" and "Uttoran", Sandip has been able to create a genre of his own. He cemented his presence in the industry with blockbuster hits like "Bombaiyer Bombete" and "Baksho Rahashya" based on Ray's immortal detective series "Feluda".

Armed with his father's teachings and having given movies like "Royal Bengal Rohosso", "Gorosthaney Sabdhan", "Tintorettor Jishu" and "Hitlist", Sandip has evolved as a leading filmmaker of India.

He is now planning a movie on scientist professor Shanku, another immortal literary character of Ray, and a film by compiling horror stories.

"I have been thinking about it for a long time, but earlier professor Shanku was an expensive matter on silver screen due to its graphics and other special effects. But now with the advancement of technology it is possible."

Sandip said movies on the Feluda series will be in cold storage for some time as Sabyasachi Chakraborty, who has been playing the lead role of the detective, is ageing.

"We have to find actors for portraying Feluda and Jatayu for Feluda movies. We don't know when we will get them," he said.

When asked about casting more or less the same actors like Paran Bandopadhaya, Tota Roy Choudhury, Parambrata Chatterjee in most of his films, Sandip said: "Yes, there is a comfort zone with these actors. But at the same time these actors are so versatile that it is really hard to find their replacement."

Sandip, however, still bears the pain of his father receiving the prestigious Oscar award for lifetime achievement at a very late stage of his life.

"I personally feel that he received the Oscar at a very late age. He could have got an Oscar much earlier. He wanted very badly to collect the Oscar himself, but he couldn't due to his illness," he said.

Ray received Oscar for his lifetime achievement just days before his death.

(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at [email protected])

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