Bengali actor Madhabi Mukherjee had established herself as Rays quintessential mascot for Indian women by the early 1960s. In Kapurush (The Coward) (1965),she portrayed a housewife who has tremendous resolve,exhibiting a range of complex emotions as she ignores her former lover who begs for her forgiveness. Now years later,the digitally restored version of this iconic Ray film will be screened at the Venice International Film Festival in the Venice Classics section. There will be 30 other popular films from across the world being screened in this category such as Ingmar Bergmans Fanny Och Alexander (1982),Peter Brooks Tell me Lies (1968),and Howard Hawks Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953),among others.
This film along with Rays restored Mahapurush (The Holy Man)(1965),a story on blind faith starring Charuprakash Ghosh and Santosh Dutta,will also form part of the Classics section. We restored the film using the original 35 mm camera negative. The negatives were scanned frame-by frame on 2K resolution,which is the highest quality of resolution. Last year,over 300 technicians worked on the films over a period of six months, says Varsha Bansal,director,RDB Entertainment,whose parent company RDB and Co. produced both films for Ray. The films will be screened on September 4 and 5.
The last time Kapurush was screened at the Venice festival was in the year it was released. In the same year,the film was also nominated for the Golden Lion Award. The restoration for the films was done by Pixion Studios in Mumbai for Rs 9 lakh each. This restoration will help in preserving the film longer since the initially restored prints by the Academy of Motion Pictures have been done in the analog format, says Bansal.