Decoding Satyajit Ray: Ranjit Mallick, Mamata Shankar, Barun Chanda look back on legend's 101st birth anniversary
Kolkata/IBNS: Veteran Bengali actor Ranjit Mallick, who had worked with late filmmaker Mrinal Sen at a very young age in Interview, had his luck to attract a role of a disillusioned Communist in late Satyajit Ray's 1990 film Shakha Proshakha.
Even after working for 20 years, Mallick, as he claimed, was equally nervous to enter the shooting floor of Ray, whose 101st birth anniversary is being celebrated Monday.
Ranjit Mallick | Image Credit: Avishek Mitra/IBNS
Sharing his experience of working with Ray during an interactive session 'Satyajiter Shilpira' at the 27th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), Mallick Sunday said, "Even after working for 20 years before working with Manik babu (referred to Satyajit Ray), I was not so confident working in Ray's film. I had a kind of hesitation."
"If someone had listened to his script, half of the job gets done because he used to make scripts the way one acts. Honestly speaking, I felt it easier to work in Ray's films because dialogues in his films are very normal unlike in commercial films where there are plenty of ornamental dialogues.
"He used to give full liberty to actors and actresses who can work in their own way," he added.
Though Mallick as Protap Majumdar was expressing his disillusionment over right and wrong as a Communist to his elder brother Probir played by Deepankar Dey in one of the last scenes from Shakha Proshakha, the veteran actor is sure of Ray's relevance even after another 100 years.
"I am hundred percent sure that people will have interest in his (Ray's) works even after another 100 years. Definitely. I am cent percent sure," the 77-year-old, who had also shared screen space with acting legend and Ray's 'Nayak' late Uttam Kumar, added.
Mamata Shankar, a co-starrer in Shakha Proshakha, shared how thrilled she was to hold Ray's fountain pen which he had offered to her once during the shooting for Ganashatru.
"I can only say I have received my lifetime achievement award and Oscars from Manik kaka (by working in his films)," said Shankar, who worked in three of Ray's films, at Rabindra Sadan on the closing day of 27th KIFF.
Mamata Shankar | Image Credit: Avishek Mitra
An interesting fact about Ray's choice of actors for definite characters was revealed by veteran actor Barun Chanda, who played corporate employee Shamalendu Chatterjee in Ray's Seemabaddha, a 1971 social drama.
Chanda, who as Shamalendu had climbed the ladder through manipulations but at the cost of losing respect in his sister-in-law's (played by Sharmila Tagore) eyes, revealed his role was about to be played by late Soumitra Chatterjee.
"I had learnt that Manik da had selected Soumitra Chatterjee for the role but later he had decided to cast a new man (Barun Chanda) with no experience.
"Ray, as I learnt, had said Soumitra Chatterjee would do the role fairly but Barun Chanda will be better because he belongs to the corporate world and is comfortable wearing a suit, office environment and he knows what a board room looks like," he said.
Barun Chanda | Image Credit: Avishek Mitra
Cherishing his experience of working with Ray, Chanda says, "I feel humbled and grateful when someone walking by on the streets refers to my character from Seemabaddha even after 51 years."