Ray: The Master Storyteller

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray was one of the most celebrated movie directors of the 20th century. His films won worldwide recognition and were regularly showcased at International Film Festivals. He even won an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in the year 1992. Ray not only scripted and directed his films, but also scored them and designed the publicity material for them. An artist, an all-rounder, a genius.

However, this post is not about Satyajit Ray, the movie director; it is about Satyajit Ray the author. I’m not going to put up any pretensions and say that I love Ray’s films. Honestly, I cannot relate much to them. Not for me the arty world cinema; I am the popcorn munching casual moviegoer, who has been brought up on a staple diet of Hollywood extravaganzas and kitschy Hindi movies. However, I am a huge fan of Satyajit Ray, the author. I love his books and I’ve read them over and over again. His stories have fascinated me, tickled me, made me cry, and regularly transported me into a world of imagination.

Writing was probably in Ray’s blood. His grandfather Upendrakishore Roychowdhury and father Sukumar Ray were prominent literary figures in Bengal. His grandfather had set up a printing press in Calcutta and the Ray family published a few Bengali magazines. It was for these magazines that Ray wrote most of his stories. I’ve read several of his short stories and novellas and have loved each one of them. Continue reading

Rediscovering Tintin

Tintin and Snowy

No, this is not about the movie, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, Spielberg’s cinematic adaptation of the classic comic series by Hergé. I have not watched the movie as yet; though I do want to watch it – in 3D. Maybe I’ll try and catch it this weekend. This is about the Tintin books, compiled by Hergè over many years, and loved by readers across the globe. This post is about my love for the books, or to put it the way Thomson and Thompson would have, ‘to be precise it is to book my love’ for the classic series.

I first read Tintin when I was in school. A great many Library periods were gainfully employed in reading about the adventures of Tintin across the world, from Congo to America to Egypt to India to China to Scotland; even the moon. I remember desperately wanting to buy all the 24 books that I saw in the school library, but I knew we couldn’t afford it. So, I continued reading and re-reading them in the library, wistfully looking at the attractive cover pages, feeling the glossy inside pages, marveling at the beautiful drawings, and laughing at the slapstick humor. And then I grew up. Continue reading