Aparajito – The Undefeated: A tribute to a master from one of his most profound fans – By Uma Magal, Hyderabad-based independent filmmaker
In this treat of a film, Satyajit Ray’s charisma sparks off the screen, delicious back stories sparkle, and insights into his film making shine.
Equally impactful is its focus on Ray’s relationship with his remarkable wife, who comes alive in this account of their caring life partnership. This telling, of her contribution to the making of ‘Pather Panchali’ and more generally in his life and work, is a long-deserved honouring of her place in his cinema.
The film recreates the making of ‘Pather Panchali’ with transparent changes of names etc., for possibly IP/copyright type reasons. Shimmering through it are perceptive details of how the filming played out: finding the location for the epic shot of Apu and sister running to see the train; Ray explaining his decision about breaking the 180 degree rule in the shot he chose to follow this momentous shot; the landscape, the rain and the grass playing hide and seek with the crew; how to make a dog act; the lighter side of playing corpse by an actor par excellence; a swinging lantern on a bullock cart taking a turn under the moon that catches the breath in your throat….. all this and more! Hats off to film maker Anik Dutta and his team for a superbly plotted and crafted film. He follows in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese in revelling in Rays cinematic genius and takes us along on a wonderful trip into it.
About the film:
Aparajito – The Undefeated (Bengali)
Cast: Jeetu Kamal as Aparajito Ray, Saayoni Ghosh as Bimola Ray, Debashis Roy, Titwisk Purkait, Shoaib Kabeer, Shounak Samanta.
Directed by Anik Dutta
Written by Sreeparna Mitra, Anik Dutta, Utsav Mukherjee
- More on ‘Aparajito’ that released on May 13, 2022 extracted from www.friendscomm.in – the production company – Friend’s Communication, who made the beautiful film:
The year is 1955.
Aparajito Ray, a young filmmaker is being interviewed on All India Radio, Calcutta. He has just arrived on the global scene with his debut film Pother Podaboli that has created a sensation in World Cinema and has bagged a prestigious international award.
Through the length of this film, relevant sections of his life, from his formative years as a young cineaste to the huge success of his very first film is interspersed with the interview.
He formed the first Film Society in Calcutta with fellow cinephiles while working as a visualiser at a British advertising agency. Along with his stint in advertising, he started to moonlight as an illustrator and a book cover designer. It was during this process that he comes across a novel with immense cinematic possibilities. Soon after he was sent for a six month long training at the London office of his company. During the course of his stay, he gets to see nearly 100 films from all over the world. The film that inspired him the most was an Italian film, ‘The Bicycle Rider’ by Vittorio Rossi. This film became the template on which he designed the making of Pother Podaboli.
Our film is all about how Aparajito overcomes all odds to finally achieve his seemingly impossible dream.
This film is not a biopic on Satyajit Ray but the protagonist is modelled on the great filmmaker and the story is based on the making of the masterpiece, Pather Panchali.
Verdict: Those who missed Hyderabad screenings, do not miss it when it comes on OTT