Satyajit Ray fan in Texas

Kathmandu, Feb 17 (Calcutta Tube) Though he lives in Texas, Nepali environmental engineer Rajendra Bhattarai has a strong link with Bengal — in the form of film maestro Satyajit Ray.

‘I love Ray for his humanism, for the way he loves his characters and for his wonderful ability as a storyteller,’ says Bhattarai, a self-confessed Ray fan.

‘He was the most complete filmmaker in the best sense of the word – wrote all his screenplays, composed music for most of his films (since Teen Kanya), operated his own camera (since Charulata), designed his own posters and worked very closely with the art director, set designer, costume designer, editor by giving them very detailed directions. He was involved with virtually every aspect of filmmaking you can think of.’

In the 1990s, after Film South Asia (FSA) was established in Kathmandu by the Himal Media Group to popularise documentary films and showcase the best documentaries of South Asia, Bhattarai suggested to the FSA to host a retrospective of Ray’s films.

Now, almost a decade later, he is once again sharing his collection of Ray DVDs with FSA to host a second edition of the maestro’s films, from Feb 21 to 25.

To be screened at the Yale Maya Kendra in Patan, the 10 films on show include ‘Charulata’, ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’, ‘Sadgati’ and ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’.

The screenings will be followed by discussions on the films and Bhattarai is flying down from Austin to take part, said Ojashwi Thami, co-director at FSA.

‘It’s a rare opportunity to see some of these films and Kathmandu is excited.’

Earlier this month, Kathmandu film goers also got an insight into Indian film maker Goutam Ghose’s work with three of his films, including his latest, award-winning ‘Moner Manush’, being shown during a mini film festival.

It was followed by a special screening of Shyam Benegal’s comedy ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’ to celebrate the 50th year of the Film and Television Institute of India.

While both Ghose and Benegal were present during the screenings of their films, Ray, who passed away in 1992, will be remembered by people who met him during his visit to Nepal.

He shot one of his films in Kathmandu and his visit was recently remembered by Dina Singh Bangdel, daughter of Lain Singh Bangdel, the late artist, art historian and art critic.

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