Ray and ‘Pather Panchali’ via ‘Aparajito’ in 2022

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Keyur Seta

Recently released Bengali film Aparajito (named after 2nd film of Ray’s Apu Trilogy, made in 1956) is a tribute to master filmmaker Satyajit Ray in his birth centenary. It’s inspired by the story behind the making of Ray’s iconic film ‘Pather Panchali’(considered first of Apu Trilogy, made in 1955). Here Keyur Seta gives a quick review of the film. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Keyur Seta is a senior film journalist. In the past 14 years he has worked with Times Of India online and Zee Entertainment and is presently working with Cinestaan.com as a Principal Correspondent.

Director Anik Dutta’s Bengali film APARAJITO is a fitting tribute to the great SATYAJIT RAY and the artiste within him.

The movie looks back at Ray’s quest and struggle to make his debut film #PatherPanchali based on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s book of the same name.

Being a man of many talents, Aparajito Ray (his name in the film) was working in an advertising agency when he comes across the book just due to some work-related purpose. He had no plans of reading it otherwise.

As he immerses himself in the book, he realizes that his wish of being a filmmaker can be fulfilled through an adaptation of this book. But here starts his struggle period in terms of, most importantly, the budget, casting actors and setting up the whole crew.

Despite the film looking back at Ray’s struggle, it tells the tale in an engaging and humorous way. The viewer gets to know a number of interesting incidents and anecdotes during the making of the film.

Dutta has masterfully recreated the bygone era and overcome the huge challenge of making the behind the scenes scenario of Pather Panchali appear real as well as interesting. The filmmaker has also done justice to Ray through plenty of finer details.

The black and white frames have hardly looked this attractive before.

#JeetuKamal, who plays Ray in the film, not only looks like the late legendary filmmaker but he also lives the character with thorough conviction. His face in this look appears similar to that of Sharad Kelkar. Saayoni Ghosh also excels as his wife. The actors playing Ray’s friends and crew members also provide valuable support.

Aparajito reminded me of Paresh Mokashi’s Marathi movie #HarishchandrachiFactory (2010) on quite a few occasions. That film was about another great from Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke’s journey of making his and India’s first movie #RajaHarishchandra (1913). But there is a major difference in terms of the execution of both the film.

It was good to see Aparajito in an auditorium packed to capacity in Mumbai.