Rounak Raj reviews The Best of Satyajit Ray (Vol 1 & 2) by Satyajit Ray (Published by Penguin Ray Library)
The Best of Satyajit Ray (Vol. 1 & 2) Bo: (The Penguin Ray Library) is a literary treasure trove that offers readers a comprehensive glimpse into the multifaceted genius of Satyajit Ray. While Ray is primarily celebrated for his iconic contributions to Indian cinema, this two-volume anthology delves into the lesser-explored realm of his writings, both fiction and non-fiction.
About Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray (1921-1991), polymath, polyglot, novelist, short-story writer, illustrator, designer, music composer, was one of the most eminent film directors of world cinema. His Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road, 1955) established his position as a major film director, winning numerous awards. Recipient of the Lifetime Academy Award in 1992 ‘In recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures and for his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world’, Ray took Indian cinema to a grand platform hitherto unachieved by any Indian film director. “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means,’ said Akira Kurosawa, ‘existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.’
While Ray’s films are fairly well-known, his writings-fiction and non-fiction-written in Bengali and English continue to attract attention. His illustrations, design works, comic strips, science fictions, detective stories are gems of Indian literature. Ray’s non-fictions are gems, which bring to lights his thoughts on film-making, film appreciation, composition of music, art, design and screenplay, among others. ‘The Penguin Ray Library’ is an endeavour to open a window to the master’s writings to a wide spectrum of readers.
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From the ever-popular adventures of Ray’s enduring creation, the professional sleuth Feluda to the chronicles of Professor Shonku; short stories; writings on filmmaking; and thoughts on world as well as Indian cinema, among others, this anthology, a two-volume boxset, The Best of Satyajit Ray is not only a treat for the Ray enthusiasts but also a collector’s edition.
Writings – Fiction & Nonfiction
Its diverse range showcases Ray’s proficiency in various genres, from the ever-appealing adventures of Feluda, the sharp-witted sleuth, to the imaginative chronicles of Professor Shonku, Ray’s literary creations are nothing short of captivating. These stories offer readers an opportunity to engage with Ray’s storytelling prowess beyond the silver screen.
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Moreover, the anthology encompasses a wide spectrum of Ray’s work. It includes his insightful writings on filmmaking, film appreciation, music composition, art, design, and screenplay, providing a deep insight into his creative process and artistic philosophy. For cinephiles and aspiring filmmakers, Ray’s non-fiction pieces are invaluable gems, offering valuable perspectives on the art of cinema.
These books serve as a window into the mind of a true master. Ray’s musings on the world and Indian cinema are thought-provoking and reflective of his profound understanding of the medium.
This collection is not merely a book but a collector’s edition, a homage to a luminary whose influence transcends generations.
These are literary tour de force that brings Satyajit Ray’s literary legacy to the forefront. With its rich assortment of stories, essays, and insights, this anthology is a must-read for admirers of Ray’s work and anyone interested in the confluence of literature and cinema in India. It is a fitting tribute to a creative genius whose impact on Indian culture remains indelible.
“When a new character appears in your tale, you must describe his looks and clothes in some detail. If you don’t, your reader may imagine certain things on his own, which will probably not fit whatever you say later on.”
Have you read this fitting tribute to a creative genius? What do you think of it? Drop a comment below and let us know!