The relevance of filmmaker Satyajit Ray

Posted: April 29, 2018 in Bengali films, Satyajit Ray

Owing to his birthday being near, I tried reflecting on the films of Ray that have a contemporary ring, two and a half decades after his death. His APU Trilogy and his Tagore and Tarashankar novellas (Charulata, Ghare Baire, Jalsagar) are set in eras immediately preceding or following Independence – almost seven decades.

Among his works, his attack on religious superstitions (Devi, Mahapurush, Ganashatru) still resonate quite strongly. In SHAKHA O PRASAKHA he emphasised how corruption among the educated class was a catalyst in further rotting the system.

These apart, the film that I find has the greatest relevance in contemporary India is HIRAK RAJAR DESHE. I find tremendous similarity of our political leaders with Hirak Raja. Being in the academic profession, I have an affinity for the teacher (Soumitro Chatterjee) in the film who was forced to mouth (Janar kono sesh nai, janar chesta britha tai…Hirak er raja bhagwan … there is no end to knowledge, so its futile to acquire … King Hirak is God). In the film the miraculous powers of Goopy and Bagha helped in ending the tyranical rule of the despot king. Should we be optimistic that Hirak Rajas of our society would meet their nemesis and suffer humiliations for their misdeeds? Time will unfold, but it’s good to be optimistic …




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