Talented filmmakers Srijit Mukherji, Abhishek Choubey and Vasan Bala have created an anthology of stories written by Satyajit Ray on Netflix, filming four of Ray’s stories from their own perspective and presenting a new rendition of Ray’s stories to the audience. . Writing something on Satyajit Ray’s contribution to Indian and world cinema can be fatal. On the one hand, there is no dearth of Ray’s fans, secondly, at the time when Satyajit Ray wrote these psychological stories, the specialty of his writing was that most of his stories could be read by anyone even after years. This is what happened in the recently released anthology ‘Ray’ on Netflix. Ray i.e. is a unique attempt to present the stories of Satyajit Ray from his own point of view.
There are 4 stories selected in Ray. The first story is ‘Bipin Choudhurir Smritibhram’. Satyajit Ray’s son Sandeep Ray made a film on this story in 2012. This time Shreejit Mukherjee has taken over the responsibility of directing. Sreejit had introduced his talent from his very first film Autograph. His three Bengali films Jatishwar, Chotushkon and Gumnami have won National Film Awards in several categories. Earlier, Sreejith had remade one of his Bengali films Rajkahini in Hindi, Begum Jaan starring Vidya Balan. He also made a 6-episode Bengali web series ‘Feluda Ferot’ about Satyajit Ray’s famous character Detective Felu Da and soon its season 2 is also coming.
The name of the story ‘Bipin Choudhurir Smritibhram’ has become ‘Forget Me Not’ in this web series. The main characters are Ali Fazal and Shweta Basu Prasad. The original story was set in a bookstore that director Sreejith and writer Siraj Ahmed have converted into a corporate world. The story is of a sharp minded person whose memory is faster than a computer but he is so engrossed in his progress that he is concerned with the people around him, his business associates, his wife, his friend and even his secretary. Emotions also sacrifice his ambition. When the memory of this person sitting at the top is lost, the story of his life goes to pieces. In this story, Ray envisioned a successful man who is self-centred and completely unaware of his habit of hurting others. Today, after many decades, we see such people in abundance in the corporate world. Ray’s story has no age but the script is a bit complicated. The way the mystery of amnesia is solved in the story, it seems that there is a case of a little redundancy here. The brutal ending was probably not needed. Ali Fazal has done the work for the first time after Fukrey. Although abusing does not seem right, but his post is heavy on his feelings. Shweta Basu Prasad’s role is small but very important. Other actors are needed. Cinematographer Swapnil Sonawane of Netflix’s web series Sacred Games has given life to this story. Some scenes, especially when Ali Fazal is battling with his memories, are amazing.
Sreejith has also directed the second story ‘Baharupiya’. Ray’s story has a poignant psychological depiction of what kind of characters he hides behind and finds a strong identity for himself when a man craving for identity gets a weapon like a magical power. There could not have been a better philosophical actor for this role than Kay Kay Menon. A very ordinary person meets people in a new form every day through the Rs 75 lakh he inherited from his grandmother and the book of change of appearance. By suppressing his weak personality, something else comes out and hiding in the heart expresses frustration in a different way. With a slight change in character, we make any snail sit on the sky. Because of a projected identity, we start thinking of any person as the best. This is such a taunt on today’s society where the struggle in personal life of social media celebrities is equal to zero but in the virtual world their identity is nothing less than a big personality. This story has to be seen a little carefully and what is hidden has to be found. The audience will probably not enjoy watching this as much as the environment is a bit different.
The third story is Hungama Hai Kyun Barpa directed by Abhishek Chaubey, starring Manoj Bajpayee and Giriraj Rao. Abhishek has presented a beautiful depiction of the Muslim environment in his earlier Urdu stories like Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya. In this story, Manoj Bajpayee’s character has scattered the shades of acting, which is generally not seen in any film. Manoj got a chance to do a little over-the-top acting from the theater days while doing this character. He is accompanied by Gajraj Rao, who is an acting chameleon. We keep meeting a new character and a new Gajraj Rao. In this story based on Satyajit Ray’s story “Barin Bhowmikere Byaram”, the ease with which Manoj ventures to become a poet with kleptomania, is mesmerized by the audience. The delicate thoughts that Manoj has brought alive in the entire getup, his performance will be remembered by the audience in the times to come. This is the strongest story of this anthology and Abhishek Chaubey has presented it in a very unique way. Niren Bhatt, the author of Gujarati superhit films, known to Hindi audiences as the author of the famous TV serial Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, has given Ray’s story a unique tinge of poetry. Akbar has taken the name of the story from Allahabadi’s ghazal and if we remember the ghazals of Ghazal, then the story also looks as intoxicating as the ghazal. The story has mixed dialogues of Urdu language which mesmerize the audience as the philosophy is mixed beautifully in it like Ray’s story.
The fourth story is considered to be the weakest, and people believe that the director has missed by coming here, but this assumption is a bit wrong. Director Vasan Bala set Ray’s story “Spotlight” in the present day, taking his favorite actor Harshvardhan Kapoor and adding other talented people like Chandan Roy Sanyal and Radhika Madan to the story. Has worked with some of the most talented actors in Ray’s film. Some of the actors kept dreaming of working in Ray’s film. Because of Ray’s habit of studying the psychology of people, he is able to hide many characters in one character. Harshvardhan is talented He needs the right roles and he has got them. He did a wonderful job in the role of Anil Kapoor’s son in Anurag Kashyap’s Netflix film “AK V. AK”. Now one such film hero in Ray’s story “Spotlight”. Who lives in an ego-filled world like a film star. His friend and manager Chandan Roy Sanyal keeps him on the ground. Radhika Madan sums up Ray’s philosophy in a funny way in a character like Radhe Maa Every hero has an identity, a signature style. Harsh The hallmark of Vardhan’s character is his “a look” which he feels is slowly becoming less effective. It is a lovely portrayal of film stars’ weakness, their insecurities and their habit of thinking of themselves as their bosses. It takes a little patience to see it. And Harshvardhan is a star son, that too has to be forgotten. There are small things in the film which are seen as sarcasm to the viewer.
In 3 out of 4 stories, the female characters are very strong and the story gets new dimensions because of them. If you look at these characters carefully, then the male characters of the film will look pale in front of them because the drama that is in the film comes due to those characters. This anthology of Ray is a difficult experiment. Those who are called Bhadralok in Bengal may hate these films because they want to see Ray’s stories in their original form. He expects Ray’s stories to be directed by his son Sandeep Ray. But Sreejit, Abhishek and Vasan have taken up this huge responsibility and have succeeded to an extent. There is innovation in the method of storytelling and for this reason Ray’s stories are called classics.
Must see this experiment. Any kind of bias should be avoided. Must be seen seriously because only then will the essence of Ray’s stories be understood. And the way in which they have been adapted by the directors, they will understand. Each story is about 1 hour, so you will have to spend about 4 hours. You can also watch one by one so that each story can make its impact properly. This experiment done on Ray’s stories, for how Ray’s image appeared to the new directors, is amazing.
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