Tagore and Ray. The two Bengalis who have, over the years, defined the identity of a people. And among the many elements uniting the Bard who was awarded the Nobel Prize and the film-maker who won the Lifetime Achievement Oscar, music holds the key.
Rabindrasangeetey Bhabbar Katha, a longish prose penned by Satyajit Ray, had been published in Ekkhon Patrika — edited by actor Soumitra Chatterjee and Nirmalya Acharya — some 36 years ago.
The piece had captured Ray’s musings on Tagore’s music. Subhas Chowdhury, a founder member of Indira Sangeet Shikshayatan, who did not quite agree with Ray in entirety, managed to corner the maestro for a chat, soon after.
On a lazy afternoon at 1/1 Bishop Lefroy Road, Chowdhury broached topics that touched a chord with Ray; the film-maker laughed, and often broke into a song or two, in his baritone.
“Ray dwelt on the appropriate diction of Rabindrasangeet, the desirable pronunciation, the accompanying instruments… It’s a very enriching conversation,” says Chowdhury.
The interview, a taped conversation of about an hour, has been transferred on to an audio CD. Ray’s original prose has been published as a book. The book features some of Nemai Ghosh’s unpublished photographs of Ray (not on display at the Nandan exhibition either).
Bishoy Rabindrasangeet, a package of the album and the book, will be unveiled at the Ray residence on May 26 by Bijoya Ray, in the presence of Sankho Ghosh, Suchitra Mitra, Khaled Chowdhury and others.