19 January, 2021

Pictures From His Mind

Satyajit Ray engages with his art, films, fellow auteurs, memories, and an Olympian scorn for Bollywood

Pictures From His Mind

It is a long time—1976, to be precise—since Satyajit Ray published his first collection of articles, Our Films, Their Films. The year before, Sholay was released and impressed Ray, despite his aversion for most Bollywood films. The year after came Shatranj Ke Khilari, starring Amjad Khan as King Wajid Ali Shah, cast by Ray on the strength of his performance in Sholay. It was Shatranj, which I saw at the world premiere in London in 1977, which first impelled me to read Ray’s writings.

Our Films, Their Films is a rich collection, with not a single dud. However, there were further excellent articles to come from Ray, most notably My Life, My Work, a five-part lecture delivered in Calcutta in English in 1982, and Under Western Eyes, about distorted European and American perceptions of Indian culture, including Indian cinema, which appeared in Sight and Sound in 1982 and may be Ray’s finest ever article. A second collection of Ray’s...



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