In addition to being a filmmaker, Satyajit Ray did a great deal of other things. Along with being a musician, designer, magazine editor, and calligrapher, he is also a gifted communicator. In addition to being a skilled storyteller, Ray was able to capture the many truths of life exhibited is writing as easily as he did on camera, and had amassed many followers over the years.
When it came to his writing, Ray had both nature and nurture on his side. Upendra Kishore Ray, the film-maker's grandfather, was an artist as well as a filmmaker. He was not only a beloved children's author, but also an illustrator, philosopher, publisher, and amateur astronomer. He had a natural love for words and stories. Rabindranath Tagore, one of India's most famous poets, nurtured him during his childhood years.
As a six-year-old, Tagore was a huge influence on the filmmaker; he carried a notebook so that he could get his autograph. Tagore surprised Ray by taking the notebook the next day and not returning it until the next morning. When Ray received the notebook back, he discovered Tagore had written him a poem. In the poem, a line reads, "For many a year, I have traveled many miles to distant lands. Through the mountains and the seas. However, there were no two paths.
Ray studied at Visva Bharati University under the poet and stayed there until his death. It is without a doubt that Nobel Laureate's writings profoundly influenced him, and that they were at the core of his film-making. Ray's style as a writer, however, contrasted sharply with Tagore's. While influenced by neoliberalism, Ray's words were direct and less ornamental, and their vivid imagery captured the attention of young readers.
Although the filmmaker has left behind a vast oeuvre of writings, there are a few books that we immediately associate with him. These are some of the books you should have on your shelf.
Complete Adventures of Feluda Volume 1,
Bengal's version of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock, Felida, is one of Ray's most loved characters. If you did not have the pleasure of knowing this witty and charming character as a child, Feluda is a young private detective who solves mysteries with his keen sense of perception and analytical mind. Ray has also brought this huge favourite to kids.
A collection of short stories
Aside from his series on Feluda and Professor Shonku, and longer-than-normal films, Ray was also known for his short stories. Back in those days, Indian writing syntax wasn't as precise as it is today, so the film maker's writing was exceptionally effective. With vivid details and memorable characters, he could create a supernatural thriller, macabre horror or touching human drama. There are some beautiful works in this collection by Ray.
You may feel your blood run cold after reading this collection of stories. This book's title refers to the mood and themes contained in its stories - a shade of blue that gives a hint of the inexplicable and the supernatural. While Ray was one of the greatest situational horror writers, his writings were greatly different from those of western writers, who often used blood and gore to paint the picture for the readers. While dealing with Ray, he displayed self-imposed restraint.
The Years I Spent With Apu
And finally, Ray's writings on the making of his famous Apu trilogy are not to be missed. As a filmmaker, he spent a considerable amount of time bringing Apu's world to Indian audiences, and he did so with a limited budget and an abundance of imagination. The book reads less like a behind-the-scenes account of the Apu films, and more like the film-maker's memoir about his early years as a director. The book was completed just before Ray died.