Satyajit Ray and NatyaPrashangyo

✍️By Tousif Hossen

TOT in association with Pragati, Liluah organized a Talk by Debasish Mukhopadhyay recently at the Jibananda Sabhagriha “Satyajit Ray & NatyaPrashangyo” where the speaker enlightened about Satyajit Ray’s relationship with theatre, how it impacted him and his filmmaking in an absolutely mesmerising presentation by Debasish Mukhopadhyay at the Jibananda Shabhagriha.

The program was organised by Times of Theatre the program also featured veteran theatre and screen actor Manoj Mitra, Film academician Shamik Bandopadhyay along with theatre and Television personality Soumitra Basu. Manoj Mitra gave a first hand account of Ray’s interpretation of a scene from a play, “Shajano Bagan”, and how years later unknowingly Tapan Sinha too echoed Ray’s interpretation as the correct depiction. Shamik Bandopadhyay a, Ray expert felt that theatre had a deep impact on Satyajit Ray’s film making and expressed delight that Debasish Mukhopadhyay has decided to highlight this unknown facet of the film maker. He also revealed that Mukhopadhyay is coming forth with a book on this subject in the forthcoming Kolkata Book Fair and the book is being dedicated to him. Soumitra Bose spoke about the wonderful work being done by TOT in preserving the heritage of Bengali theatre and promoting theatre through stage plays, workshops, theatre acting classes and ofcourse the APP based Radio.

Debasish Mukherjee later in a 2 hours presentation explained every aspect of theatre’s impact on Satyajit Ray’s films with several well illustrated documentary evidences, how he and Banshi Chandragupta designed the sets of a Bikash Roy directed play, how Brecht left a deep imprint on Ray’s mind, how a scene in Pather Panchali, a scene where Durga was being reprimanded for stealing, had a direct impact from theatre, how Goopy Gaine’s famous ghost dance was influenced from the uprisings prior to the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, he gave countless examples.

Debasish Mukhopadhyay says that more than 35 of his movies were later staged as plays including the ones enacted in Bangladesh, Debasish Mukhopadhyay informed that Satyajit Ray selected over 140 actors from theatre including Santosh Dutta. The impact of Girish Ghosh, the theatre legend of Bengal was imprinted on Ray and he was a regular in theatre shows during the decades of 50’s 60’s, 70’s and later on his favourite screen actor Soumitra Chatterjee remained an endearing connect with Bengal’s theatre and Satyajit Ray. Infact Ray designed the cover of several of Soumitra’s plays.

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