Tuesday 13 December 2011

Satyajit Ray Negatives: My Life with Manikda [2005]

Satyajit Ray’s life has been dealt with innumerable times over the years, but rarely has it been chronicled through the eyes of the man who religiously followed him for around 2 ½ decades with his camera. Nemai Ghosh, referred to by the epithet “Ray’s photographer”, took over 90000 pictures of the legendary filmmaker – at work as well as in his home. The incredible journeys of these two men – one renowned the world over, the other forever in the shadows – have been portrayed with great perception and in telling details in this well-made documentary. Over the course of its crisp length we see Ghosh speaking at length about his fascination with both Ray the person and Ray the filmmaker, sharing various anecdotes, and expressing grief for the lack of support he has received professionally and personally. The most memorable moments include the now middle-aged actors who had played the roles of Apu and Durga in Ray’s breakthrough debut feature, Pather Panchali, recalling their experiences as kids, and an old and likeable lady speaking about the shooting of Jalsaghar at their now-decrepit palatial mansion. It also includes interviews with thespians and frequent Ray-collaborators Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore, who both were part of Aranyer Din Ratri. It ends on a melancholic note with Ghosh reminiscing of the times spent with 'Manik Da' (the sobriquet by which Ray was lovingly called by those close to him) – and through his priceless B/W stills, ours as well.

For those interested in the life & times of this unassuming and largely unknown, albeit renowned (in close circles) photographer, read this marvelous article on him. It makes for a great read.

Director: Bo Van der Werf
Genre: Documentary
Language: Bengali/English
Country: Belgium


Orlando taxi said...

cool spending life in taking pictures and i think these kind of people are more close to people and understand others more easily as they can feel the changing faces and expressions of people with the eye of the lens.

Shubhajit said...

Indeed, completely agree with you. Some even say that he knew Ray better than any other person.