Thursday, July 17, 2014

14 Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Title: 14 Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray
Author: Bhaskar Chattopadhyay
Category: Fiction (Anthology)
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 350
Pages: 224

Snapshot: This is an anthology of 14 stories based on which Satyajit Ray made his respective movies.

The Review:  Anyone who is born in India is fond of stories, which later transforms mostly into our love for watching movies. Sadly reflecting on the quality of our education system, however we make up for the yearning through movies. Luckily for us we have been blessed with some of the best talents in the field, Satyajit Ray being one of the pioneers known to all. However, his movies were made in a different time which is slower and unlike modern film making. Many audiences may not have the patience or the eye for consideration of brilliance in the movie making, despite of the technological short comings of that era.

Also the movies are in Bengali, which many of us do not know. Inspite of that I tried watching his movies with subtitles, but alas! subtitles never had that impact my Bengali friends would get, who could understand it all. Therefore when the author Bhaskar Chattopadhyay approached me for a book review, It was a long yearning fulfilled, after all the main crux of any movie was the story. Stories are immortal, afterall and stand tall against the tempest of times connecting humans to their history, origins and the lives of others. I picked up the book being a little skeptic over the fact that it was a collection and his attempt was bold for the titles were some of the best, most widely acclaimed movies by the man. 

Something that I realised was these were also the best works by literary geniuses like Munshi Premchand and Rabindranath Tagore. Great minds certainly think alike and when they come together, the art thus produced is escalated to higher echelons. I wish the film makers of today would draw examples from Satyajit Ray in making movies based on good books. 

The author chose stories of different flavours, as was the man who never stuck to one genre or a comfort zone. All the stories did justice to the translation and were very crisp. The authors real talent however is revealed in the last story Pikoo's Diary, where he could translate the entire diary writing by a child in his broken language. Hats off! Critics who believed translation was easy certainly should try a hand at this form and taste the flavour.

The Verdict:
Positives:  Great selection of stories, crisp, and the translation managed to deliver the original flavour. The original movie banners before each story were a winner.

Negatives: None.

Overall: 4 stars on 5. A must read for people who cannot understand Bengali and for those who do, well they love to read as well and will for the love of Satyajit Ray and in appreciation of a good translation. Waiting for volume 2.

About Bhaskar Chattopadhyay
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is a Bengali writer. He has also written: Gaura-Bangera Itihasa O Samskrti, No Child's Play andCulture of Bengal Through the Ages: Some Aspects.

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