Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A friend of mine had once ended an article on Jean Luc Godard with this telling line, “Godard is in the details”. I bet he would have had the same thing to say about Satyajit Ray. Upon the nth viewing of Joy Baba Felunath, I couldn’t but marvel at the man’s eye for detail. The hotel that Feluda, Tosphe and Lalmohan Babu check into at Benares looks so typically like a “Dada-Didi’ setup meant for the ubiquitous Middleclass Bong Budget Tourist that you can almost perceive the smell of fish that usually pervades such a joint. Not only that, Ray even introduces a character who quizzes the hotel-owner about the availability of water at the hotel, the frequency at which towels are changed and even (!) the cooking medium used at the hotel’s restaurant. The character has nothing to do with the plot, its Ray’s way of poking fun at the MBBT tribe. Yes, Ray’s films may have been “universal”, but they are steeped in a Bangaliyana that envelops everything from accents to idiosyncrasies.

And that is why Ray is Ray. If you watch JBF or S.Kella you would not feel the need to compare it with the 'original' story. Whether a person has read the story or not will not make any difference to his enjoying the film - unlike most films made from books.

In the book the character you mentioned is not there - but his constant cribbing is so very real...I remember having seen a person like this on every trip of mine.

Similarly - Maganlal was not the centre of attraction in the book. But Ray's and Dutt's depiction of Maganlal created one of the best villains of Indian cinema.

Also, unlike the book, Ruku was in connivance with his grand dad in hiding the statue -a much more plausible theory.

Which is whay I always tell people who compare books and films - these are two different media..treat them differently.
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