M3 Features

Ray's storyboard tribute to sitar maestro featured in a book

May 2, 2014

The legendary filmmaker was born today. To commemorate the 93rd birth anniversary of Satyajit Ray, a book, which is a tribute to sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar from Ray, will be released. Naseeruddin Shah will grace the occasion to unveil the book and also deliver the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture.

The book is a 32-page visual script in the form of water colour paintings by Ray. The series of frames were supposed to be made in the form of a documentary way back in the Fifties. But the project was abandoned, for reasons, unknown. The script has been lying at the Ray Society archive housed at the director's Bishop Lefroy Road residence. The 32 page storyboard was titled "A Sitar Recital by Ravi Shankar".

The book, called "Satyajit Ray's Ravi Shankar: An Unfilmed Visual Script", not only showcases a series of water-colour paintings, but comes with interesting add-ons. It features two articles on Ravi Shankar by Ray, an interview of the sitar maestro on Ray and several rare photographs of the musician. It also has the customary technical details, notes and instructions that laced his scripts.

"The painting style and the use of water colours suggest that he made the script in the Fifties. In fact, he had painted a brochure for 'Pather Panchali' that is incredibly similar to this style. Apart from 'Pather Panchali', this is the only script in which he used water-colour frames. He switched over to ink from his second film and never changed the practice till the last," said Ray scholar Ujjal Chakrabarty.

Pt. Ravi Shankar gave music to four of Ray's classics, beginning with his greatest and the first 'Pather Panchali', 'Aparajito', 'Apur Sansar' and 'Paras Pathar'. They always shared a close and congenial relationship with each other.

"It is a hard-bound copy with very neatly drawn pictures and texts, typical of Ray. The work suggests that Ray was very serious about making the film at one stage, but gave up the idea for some reason. We have preserved the script and converted it into a book that has been embellished with articles and pictures. We have managed to include some rare shots of Ray and Ravi Shankar taken during the shooting of 'Pather Panchali'," said Arup K De, CEO of the Ray Society and one of the editors of the book. The others are Sandip Ray, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Debashish Mukherjee and Deepak Mukherjee.

120 frames were drawn to guide camera angles, height and camera movement from the point of view of a filmmaker. The frames show Ray's vision as he captures Shankar in various moods with camera instructions like 'pan away', 'dissolve to' written on the margins besides other instructions.

Along with the book, another collection of short stories that were filmed by Ray will also be inaugurated. These stories, translated into English, include 'Jalsaghar', 'Kapurush' and 'Mahanagar'. It will be followed by the screening of Ray films - "Two" and "Inner Eye".

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