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Remains of the past

Remains of the past
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First Published: Fri, May 01 2009. 10 18 PM IST

Craftsman: The sketch of Dayamoyee’s make-up in Devi. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
Craftsman: The sketch of Dayamoyee’s make-up in Devi. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
Updated: Fri, May 01 2009. 10 18 PM IST
The sketch of the order in which the infantry, cavalry and band members would appear, complete with jottings about their uniforms and weaponry, in a scene from Shatranj Ke Khiladi would do any military man proud. Similarly, the plan for the chamber of the tyrannical Halla Raja in Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is worked out in painstaking detail.
Craftsman: The sketch of Dayamoyee’s make-up in Devi. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
These and 91 other sketches, film posters and photographs by the legendary director, author, playwright and composer Satyajit Ray will be on display at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture for a week, starting Sunday. The exhibition has been organized by the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films, better known as Satyajit Ray Society or just Ray Society, in association with the Birla Academy. “I have also requested Sandip Ray to send the Oscar and the Legion d’Honneur won by the maestro for display,” says curator Shikha Roy.
The 91 objects being prepared for display are not originals. They are high-quality digital printouts of the original sketches and posters. “Sandip Ray has promised to bring many more valuable originals before the exhibition starts,” says Roy. “Many of the original sketches would have become very brittle,” she says, pointing to the sketch of Dayamoyee’s make-up after she is driven to madness in ‘Devi’, and a storyboard from the same film.
There’s the script for the first appearance of the King of Ghosts from Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’ and music notations for the song Bhuter Raja Dilo Bor.
Also on display are 27 photographs taken by the film-maker in places as diverse as Tunis, Tehran, Los Angeles and Stockholm.
Along with the exhibition, the Ray Society will also hold a Satyajit Ray festival, ‘Ray Today’, at the academy and the Star Theatre, according to Arup Kumar De of the society. The film-maker’s son, Sandip, is the member-secretary of the society.
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On Day 1, Javed Akhtar will deliver the Ray memorial lecture. In the days following, there will be programmes based on music from his films, plays based on his stories, films, both by him or on him, a debate on his heritage, and quiz contests on his life and work. “The proceeds of the festival will go to fund (the) ongoing restoration and preservation work of Ray’s films, sketches, jottings and compositions,” says De. “We also plan to raise the seed money for a Satyajit Ray Heritage Centre.”
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The society needs Rs5 crore for its planned Heritage Centre. “The centre will have an archive for storage, preservation and display of Ray papers and memorabilia, a study centre, seminar rooms, auditorium and permanent exhibition hall,” says De. “As films are extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity, we also plan to have a vault.”
Bangla rock band Bhoomi will perform on the opening day and another rock band, Chandrabindoo, will perform on the closing day of the festival.
For details, log on to www.satyajitrayworld.com
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First Published: Fri, May 01 2009. 10 18 PM IST