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Satyajit Ray’s centenary celebrations at Cannes: Son Sandip Ray opens up about the experience

Satyajit Ray was a pioneer of the Indian film industry and is known for his critically-acclaimed works from Apu Trilogy to Charulata and Aranyer Din Ratri

Raktim Das
Jul 12, 2021
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Director Sandip Ray

Celebrating the legacy of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, the 74th Cannes Film Festival honoured the works of the Bengali icon on his centenary birth year. Former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the India Pavilion virtually, and the famed film festival resumed its journey after almost two years.

In a chat with ETimes, Sandip Ray, son of the acclaimed director-producer-musician, expressed his views on Cannes and reminisced about his own prior experience. He conveyed his gratitude and mentioned that although physical celebrations would have been better, the virtual event during the pandemic is good news. Cannes is one of the giant international film festivals like Venice and Berlin, he said, adding that Satyajit’s films have toured the festival before also for quite a few times.

Sandip Ray with father Satyajit Ray

When asked about his own experience at Cannes, he remembered that during Pather Panchali, he was too young to go. However, when Ghare Baire was nominated for Palme d’Or for Best Film, due to Satyajit being ill, the filmmaker was not allowed to travel. So, that year, Sandip had to attend the festival along with Soumitra Chatterjee, Swatilekha Sengupta and others. Like any other festival, they got to meet a lot of people there, along with doing lots of interviews and watching screenings. Though later his own movies were screened at Cannes in some category, he never visited the festival again.

He remarked that in recent years, the number of Indian films being screened at Cannes have gone down, but that is something only the selection committee and the festival authorities will be able to explain, as to why Indian films are not frequent at global festivals.

Sandip Ray also divulged about his plans for celebrating Satyajit Ray’s centenary, but unfortunately, they have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 situation, as he feels certain things can’t be done virtually. So, the initiatives, seminars, memorial lectures and exhibitions have been postponed and will definitely take place once things go back to normal, he said.

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