29 September, 2020

An Intimate Decor

Ray, mostly aware of his mastery, but introspective and often assailed by self-doubt

Mona Chowdhury
An Intimate Decor
"I have regularly pursued my two vocations of film-making and writing for young people, untrammelled by any thoughts of ever having to describe or analyse why I do certain things the way I do them."

Not many professional film-makers, let alone those with an international reputation, could have made that statement with such unselfconscious simplicity. Film-making is a risky, time-consuming business and few of the practitioners of that enterprise have time for any other involvement. But Satyajit Ray, who makes the above remark in his article, My Life, My Work, was not only continuously engaged in directing films during the last 40 years of his life but also wrote several full-length books for children.

It would, however, be wrong to be misled by the simplicity of his tone into concluding that Ray was not conscious of his importance as a film-maker. For the remark is preceded by the following qualification: "Of all the major directors in the world, only one—Sergei Eisenstein—lectured and theorised on cinema, and described his own creative process at length." By...



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