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Aparna Sen On Satyajit Ray

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Konkona Sen Sharma

  Aparna Sen  had  the singular   honour of being Satyajit Ray’s  heroine  when she was  16. She played  one of the three protagonists  in  Ray’s omnibus Teen Kanya in 1961.

Aparna , a globally acclaimed  filmmaker herself,  feels Ray’s relevance has  not dimmed. “He is the most relevant filmmaker even today.”

 However she feels there are  Indian filmmakers  too who have made an impact. “It’s not that there have been no other significant filmmakers though they may not be quite of Ray’s stature. Adoor Gopalakrishnan for one, Aravindan for another, both from Kerala. Mrinal Sen, Ritwick Ghatakand  Buddhadeb Dasgupta from Bengal. Girish Kasaravally and Girish Karnad from Karnataka. The difference perhaps lies in the fact some of these others were so culture-specific, so ethno-specific that their films did not appeal as much to Western audiences.”

Aparna whose 36 Chowringhee Lane , Paroma, Sati and  Yugant  bear a direct  kinship to the great  school of Ray filmmaking  feels , “Ray was deeply rooted in the soil of Bengal of course; yet his films still had a humane universal appeal ,especially his earlier films. Also, Ray came much earlier than most of these others. So, in an atmosphere vitiated with formula mainstream cinema that was coming out of India, Ray’s realism came like a breath of fresh air.”

Incidentally  actress parliamentarian Nargis Dutt had condemned  Ray in  parliament  for  showing India in a poor light  to  foreign nations.

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 Says Aaprna, “Everyone knew that India was a poor country. It was stupid to pretend otherwise! But Ray gave faces to the rural poor and dignified them. He made them with their joys and sorrows relatable globally.”