Rendezvous with Ray is a must-read for anyone interested in Satyajit Ray or Indian cinema. It is a beautifully written and insightful article that provides a unique perspective on one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
Rendezvous with Ray Summary
Satyajit Ray was a famous Bengali Film director of India. According to Father Gaston Roberge,The French-comedian priest, a unique friendship developed between him and the director Ray. It was on the way to India in 1961 at a stopover in New York. Once Roberge saw three Bengali Films in one sitting. Since then, Roberge’s began to love the people of India and Bengali Cinema and culture. In Roberge’s latest book he provides a scholarly original analysis of Ray’s works, his greatness both as a person and as an artist.
Fr.Roberge came to know about West Bengal and it’s people first through triology and then through different sources like Reader’s Digest, Tagore’s poems etc. Roberge disagrees with the accusation of Ray’s critics. In the Ray’s films he could see enormous spiritual poverty of rich people than material poverty of the poor. Roberge met Ray in person nine years after he reached Calcutta.
Their friendship lasted 22 years until Ray’s death in 1992. According to Roberge, Ray was a shy person. He seemed to be cold, aloof and intimidating to outsiders, but he was in reality a very simple man with a subtle sense of humour. The author and Ray used to meet on Sundays at 9 am. The author says that Ray’s human concern was great. For this, he gave an example.
Once a few well-known personalities of the city of Calcutta had visited him earlier to go through one of his manuscripts. After they left, he found the Charulatha screen play missing. Ray knew who had taken that manuscript. Roberge asked him whether he was going to take any action against him. Ray said ‘No’. He explained that he did not want to hurt the reputation of the person.
Like Tagore Ray strode his time like a Colossus. Roberge feels that Ray took off where Tagore signed out. Tagore wrote in his last major prose Shabhyatar Sankat, that it would be a sin to lose faith in man. In Ray’s last three films Tagore’s dictum becomes clear. Ray felt deeply hurt when some critics saw the last three films of him as didactive and verbose.
Chitrabani communication and film institute in West Bengal was founded by Roberge in 1970. Its establishment was the result of his friendship with Ray. As a token of friendship with Roberge lent his name as a co-founder. Ray also agreed also to be the institute’s adviser. Roberge was the director of Chitraban for 26 years. He produced important documentary features. It became breeding ground for local Talent for film-making.
The conclusion of Rendezvous with Ray is a moving and inspiring reminder of the power of cinema to transform our lives. It is also a testament to the enduring legacy of Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.