Satyajit Ray’s work inspires projects from Big Bazaar, Roadshow

A restored version of Indian master Satyajit Ray’s ‘The Adversary’ will be screened at Cannes Classics this year and films inspired by his works are on the way.

Kolkata-based Indian producer-director Aritra Sen’s Roadshow Films and Los Angeles-based British writer-director Alex Harvey’s Big Bazaar Films are producing two films this year inspired by Ray’s life and work.

Beginning with the documentary Forest of Humans, which explores Ray’s creative relationship with Kolkata, the city where he has lived and worked throughout his life. Directed by Harvey and produced by Sen, the documentary explores the many ways Ray used Kolkata’s diverse humanity to create an entire cinematic world. Filmed almost entirely on location in Kolkata, Forest of Humans aims to show how mysterious and alive Ray’s poetic world remains in the city today.

“Kolkata endlessly fired Ray’s imagination,” says Sen. “In turn, Ray gave the city its confidence.”

“His films never try to idealize Calcutta, but constantly change how it is perceived,” says Harvey. “Check out the disaffected anti-hero from ‘The Adversary,’ who is seen disconnected from his town and unable to find solace in her casual pleasures.”

The Adversary also provides partial inspiration for Prantik, a contemporary drama set in Kolkata and London. The starting point is a similar premise – the story of a young man who, after the death of his father, is forced to start his own business in the city. Prantik, which Sen will direct and Harvey will serve as creative producer, is slated to start filming this fall.

“In addition to ‘Prantik’ and ‘Forest of Humans’, we are also planning a period film called ‘Niru’, set in Kolkata [as the city was called then] 1880s, at the height of the Raj, and based on Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House. Ray’s extraordinary film ‘Charulata’ is proving to be a great creative inspiration for this project,” said Harvey and Sen.

Both filmmakers said they are committed to exploring Ray’s rich legacy. “Ray was the reason I wanted to work in film, the reason I fell in love with cinema,” says Sen. “Ray is the most complete auteur filmmaker in the history of cinema. He wrote, designed, directed, edited and even composed the musical scores for his films. You can learn everything from Ray.”

Sen previously produced the series “Feluda” based on stories by Ray. Harvey’s last film was the mixed martial arts documentary Enter the Jungle. Satyajit Ray’s work inspires projects from Big Bazaar, Roadshow

Charles Jones

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