Paul Zacharia hails Satyajit Ray’s role in building the film society movement
The late film-maker Satyajit Ray was one of the founders of modern Indian cinema, writer Paul Zacharia has said. At an event held here on Sunday in memory of Ray, he said the foundation of modernity that people like Ray had helped build in the country was facing a serious threat now.
“Ray came with Pather Panchali at a time when filmmakers like Raj Kapoor had already churned out movies like Boot Polish and Awaraa with a strong ideological statement. Ray proved that thought-provoking cinema can be entertaining too. His cinema used technology in a creative way,” said Mr. Zacharia.
When Ray started making his brand of movies, it did not have popular recognition. “It was mainly possible because of the political leadership. Apart from making good cinema, Ray also helped build the film society movement in the country using his persuasion skills,” said Mr. Zacharia.
The writer said it was film screenings organised by film societies which opened the world of international cinema before the Indian audience. “What you call film literacy is a contribution of the film society movement. That was one of the foundations of Indian modernity. But, unfortunately the current political leadership at the Centre is trying to reverse this process now,” said Mr. Zacharia.
He said voices of dissent were being muzzled and efforts were on to turn the clock back by about 600 years. “We are living in some kind of a dark age. The only solace is that the country has faced worse challenges earlier too and has survived. This time will pass too,” the writer said.