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Ray of Light

An exhibition of photographs enables one to experience the magic of Satyajit Ray films

Written by Swetha Ramakrishnan | Updated: March 12, 2014 11:41:56 pm

Nemai Ghosh’s ensemble of still photographs from Satyajit Ray films allows us to be a part of his cinematic magic even in the 21st century. Ghosh, famous for photographing Ray and his films for 25 years, has published more than eight books of images that cover the arc from Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969) to Agantuk (1991). An exhibition, titled “Retrospective on Indian Cinema” to mark its 100 years brings together 35 images from a host of archival pictures stored at the Delhi Art Gallery.

In one such image, Smita Patil’s ambushed face is half-covered with her sari, aptly conveying the troubles of her character Jhuria, the wife a poor dalit shoemaker, in the film Sadgati. In another, a pensive Amjad Khan, dressed up in royal attire from Shatranj Ke Khiladi, waits for his shot. The focus on Khan comes through a wired hookah pipe, which serves as a makeshift frame for him. A still from Jana Aranya captures Ray sitting on the boot of a car looking into the camera, surrounded by other technicians, as a female actor acts out the scene. Images of a young Jaya Bhaduri, Rekha and others complete the exhibition. “Ghosh’s frames are so electrifying. Ray preferred
his heroines in less make-up and never used any artificial light to brighten them up. Their raw beauty made for intricate characters and Ghosh captures those moments beautifully,” says Paris-based curator Nupur Tron.

“Accidental passion” is what Tron calls this exhibition, adding, “It all just fell into place.” Her Bengali mother ensured she grew up watching most of Rays films, and Tron feels that youngsters of today have forgotten the magic of Ray. “My ex-mother-in-law (Christine Tron) worked as an editor with Ray on a film, titled Bengali Tiger, which was shelved due to censor issues. I am trying to research on the film,” she says.

“Retrospective on Indian Cinema” will be on at the Hungarian Centre till March 19. Contact: 24618366

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