A tribute to Mrinal by Sandip Ray & the relationship of Sen & Ray

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Mrinal Sen

Battle of the legends, a fight among friends: Sandip Ray
Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey TNN

Kolkata: For years the Ray-Sen “rivalry” has been the talking point of the town — from streetcorner addas to film workshops. The two doyens of Bengali cinema often clashed in the ‘letters to editors’ column of leading dailies, as in the case of Sen’s ‘Akash Kusum’. But Satyajit Ray’s son, filmmaker Sandip Ray(pictureabove)callsit a “healthy competition”, rather than rivalry.
“You cannot perform in a vacuum. Only when you have stiff competition do you have the urge to excel. Mrinal Sen’s and Ritwik Ghatak’s presence naturally urged my father to outshine himself. I am sure that my father’s presence had a similar effect on them as well,” Ray says.
The two were otherwise intimate friends, keeping tabs on each other’s ideas, thinking processes, techniques and styles. “My father and I would run into Mrinalbabu all the time while we would be busy with our post-production work. We would mostly be in different editing rooms at NT 1. Often I would find my father and Mrinalbabu engaged in stimulating conversations. I wouldsoakin every bitof it,” Ray remembers, adding that he remains one of Sen’s biggest fans to this day. Films like Bhuvan
Shome, Calcutta 71 and Padatik remain Ray’s favourites. “They are still relevant. Sen’s style of filming is distinctly different from my father’s. I would like to call Sen an instinctive and intuitive filmmaker, very unlike my father who would take a lot of time doing his homework,” Ray said. Such spontaneity is rare, feels Ray, becauseittakes a lotof courage and conviction to go ahead with an intuition and ensure that it climaxes in a masterpiece — something that Sen has done over and over again.
“He is so stark that he shakes you awake from your stupor,” Ray says. This is also where he differs from his acclaimed rival. “Perhaps the fact that my father chose a variety of stories for filming made him different from his contemporaries. However, Sen is incomparable when it comes to experimentation.For me,he remains an example for filmmakers of our country with his existentialism, surrealism, German expressionism, French New Wave and Italian Neorealism,” Ray added.
He feels that with two legends gone, he can do nothing better than pray for the long life of the third master.
“Mrinal babu is my hero who has inspired me deep within, especially with his earlier films. It is this adulation that makes me talk to him regularly. And find peace in his very presence.”

raysen

Photo: Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray deep in conversation”

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Comments
  1. PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS, INDIA says:

    PRADIP BISWAS, FILM SCHOLAR, JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS WHILE BROWSING SANDIP RAY’S TRIBUTE TO MRINAL SEN, SAYS: BABU ( SANDIP RAY) SEEMS TO HAVE GROWN HIS OWN VISION AND DIALECTICAL OUTLOOK TO JUDGE THE MASTER FILMMAKERS WHO WERE DOMINANT IN TOLLYGUNGE FOR MANY YEARS AND MADE MASTERPIECES. IT INCLUDES RITWICK ALSO. THE FREE VIEWS OF BABU ARE TO BE RECKONED WITH AND RESPECTED. BABU’S AESTHETIC ATTITUDE TO GOOD CINEMA AND THOSE FILMS MADE IN RADICAL MODE.

    BESIDES, I SEE A RARE MIX OF SUBTLE COMPARISON IN BABU’S ANATOMY OF DISCOURSE. ONE SHOULD REALIZE THAT SANDIP RAY TOO HAS LEARNT FROM MAESTROS MENTIONED IN THE ELUCIDATION. IT IS GOOD, INSPIRING AND ILLUMINATING

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