The Ray show goes on

Written by Sudipta Datta | Updated: Jan 20 2008, 05:15am hrs
You cherish his films, now get a glimpse of Satyajit Ray as an artist and illustrator, as a graphics and costume designer. The Ray Society, of which his filmmaker son and director Sandip Ray is member-secretary, has organised a unique exhibition, Art of Satyajit Ray, in Kolkata till January 25. We wanted to present him as an artist and illustrator and give others a peek into his fascinating world of art, says Sandip Ray. The idea germinated as he and others began sorting out the master film-makers papers. They literally run into thousands of pages and there are various things, from the book jackets he used to design and draw, his sketches while a student at Kala Bhavan in Shantiniketan, his illustrations while working at Signet Press, storyboards, scripts, costume designs and so forth. Sandip Ray says the society is open to taking it outside Kolkata provided we get some interested partners. Keeping that in mind, the society has kept the exhibition simple and portable.

So, there are about 80 exhibits, which comprise just 5% of Rays papers. There are prints and originals of his illustrations, including the ones he did for Sandesh magazine, head-pieces, posters, hoardings, title credits, film schedules, set designs, advertisement artworks and type faces. Ray designed four fonts, Ray Bizarre, Daphnis, Holiday Script and Ray Roman. Sandip also has chanced upon an envelope with many book jackets: While Shyam Benegal was making a documentary on him, he wanted my father to select his favourite book jackets. Its a big collection and we found it in an envelope. Among the set designs on show will be the one he did for Shatranj Ke Khilari. Another interesting exhibit is the total set of title cards of Kanchenjunga and the unused title cards of Joy Baba Felunath, which has a unique font in that it resembles the graffiti on the walls of houses in Benaras.

We wanted to give Kolkata something unique, says Arup De, CEO, Ray Society. We did an exhibition of Ray in Spain two years ago and are planning to take that exhibition to other cities like London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, he points out. The society is also organising film shows, seminars and an exhibition for the North American Bengali conference in Toronto from July 4-6. For the Ray fan, it couldnt get better than this.