The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ray relics to dress up pandal
- Book covers, rare film posters and bhooter raja for festival flavour

The famous bhooter nach in Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen, the rare posters of Pather Panchali, the famous covers of Sandesh and Ekshan. Calcutta, many years after the maestro’s death, could relive his works, with a little help from his son. But the venue is one that could well have stumped Satyajit Ray, too.

For, these and other works of art — including rare (and unpublished) posters and other memorabilia probably never seen outside the Bishop Lefroy Road address — by Ray will be exhibits at a puja pandal this October.

Sandip Ray, son of the Oscar-winning film-maker, has got into the act to help members of Ballygunge Cultural Association dig out and display the precious exhibits. He is delving deep into the resources by guiding the committee in ferreting out old posters and long-forgotten book jackets.

“They are converting the posters into mosaic, to be used inside the pandal,” Sandip told Metro on Sunday. “Collages, comprising his (Satyajit Ray) works, are going to form a part of the exhibits as well,” he added.

What has impressed Sandip about the endeavour is the seriousness with which the puja committee is going about this task. “They are very serious about it, and are doing a good job,” he said.

“The other, less-frequently-seen side of Ray, is the theme of this year’s puja,” explained Saptarshi Basu, assistant secretary of Ballygunge Cultural Association. “We wanted to relive the Satyajit Ray experience and share it with millions who will be visiting our pandal during the four days… We are grateful to Sandipbabu for his guidance.”

Sandip, Basu elaborated, had allowed the association access to many rare posters, which were then copied, and also guided it to places where material for other exhibits (like Shanti Das’ An Intimate Master) could be traced.

The plan is to decorate the pandal with jacket-designs by Ray, sketches etched by him for covers of books and posters of Pather Panchali and other films.

“We are also using sketches by Ray on books like Jato Kando Kathmandutey and Braziler Kaalo Bagh,” Basu said. Another interesting feature would be the exhibition of Ray Roman, the special script used by the master. The script would be used for the graffiti, a member of the puja association added.

The tribute to Ray, organisers said, would be a “unique experience” for pandal-hoppers, what with the bhooter naach in a jungle and other exhibits.

“The dance, to be played on a VCD and projected on a giant screen, will definitely be a highlight,” asserted association secretary Anjan Ukil.

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