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Exhibition captures a magnificent obsession

Staff Reporter

Satyajit Ray’s legendary chronicler brings to town a tiny fraction of his work

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Picture perfect: Nemai Ghosh at ‘Satyajit Ray: From Script to Screen’, an exhibition of photographs on the legendary film-maker, at The National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Bangalore: “These pictures are precious to me. I took these pictures of Satyajit Ray between 1967 and 1992 at my own expense. I often felt I was in a trance while taking them,” said Nemai Ghosh, who, for a quarter of a century, chronicled practically every cinematic moment of the legendary filmmaker.

Just a fraction of this distinguished body of work is on show at the National Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibition – “Satyajit Ray: From Script to Screen” – comprises 101 photographs capturing the great man in various stages of filmmaking and will be on display till November 27.

Mr. Ghosh told The Hindu that he learnt a lot from one of India’s greatest auteurs. “As I followed him keenly; I learnt many lessons. He was a composite filmmaker. I treat each picture as if it were my child.”

He said that a few years ago, unable to preserve the negatives himself, he offered his collection to Government of India. “They were not in the least bit interested. I was frustrated and even contemplated dumping the negatives into the Ganges. Now, however, a gallery in New Delhi has come forward to scan and preserve them.”

The exhibition documents the late filmmaker’s career and provides an insight into the perceptive capabilities of another innovative mind’s experiences. Skilfully shot, these photographs move beyond mere documentation, each revealing a story of the creative process.

Four films complementing the exhibition will be screened between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Satyajit Ray Negatives, My Life with Manikda, The Inner Eye (English), and Shyam Benegal’s Satyajit Ray Part 1 and 2). Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, said Mr. Ghosh had managed to capture every fleeting moment of Mr. Ray’s professional life.

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