New Delhi: A great celluloid story needs a brilliant storyteller, and the storyteller needs outstanding actors to bring the characters to life. Satyajit Ray, the man who made the values of Indian films recognisable to the world, also had a muse in Soumitra Chatterjee.
Chatterjee, in return, tried his best to fulfil Ray's wishes on screen. Both shared a special rapport which spread over the canvas of 13 films and some short films. He found it very tough to remember just one incident of his entire association with Satyajit Ray," It is very difficult you know. We had been closely associated for more than 25 years, and there are a lot of incidents to recall."
Chatterjee feels that his long journey with Ray was like another cinematic story," A filmmaker of his stature with almost all of his films recognised internationally, it's a tough job to pick one of them. I feel that I had been working on one film all along. All 14 films look like an extension to one particular film to me."
From 'Charulata' to 'Kapurush', Soumitra became the man to look up to whenever the directors felt the need to showcase a complex urban character, however, Soumitra Chatterjee thinks differently on the matter,"No, that's wrong. My first film with Satyajit Ray 'Apur Sansar' was not based in any urban setting; it came from the villages. And second film 'Devi' also had a character which had come from a village to study in Kolkata. The third film again had village elements. Then in 'Abhijan', though the character was an automobile driver the story was totally rural in its nature. Again 'Ashani Sanket' was entirely based on the village life, a village Brahmin, a village priest was the protagonist."
A common line of thinking can create the magic on silver screen," There were certain features that were common to all the directors. They knew their medium but Satyajit Ray was very lyrical. We shared the same kind of legacy. Although he was much older than me and much above than all of us as far as artistic abilities were concerned. We were from a generation that worshipped Rabindranath Tagore, that saw the freedom movement, we had the same kind of outlook."
Film critics sometimes wonder why Satyajit Ray commanded such a high respect as a filmmaker, Soumitra explains," Before 'Shakha Proshakha' went on the floors; he called me one day and said that 'I have given you enough freedom throughout your career to do whatever you want but this time we will think together, we will plan together.' He was the leader, he believed in my potential."