He made actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi and Amjad Khan wait for over half an hour on the set of “Shatranj ke Khilari” (1977) as the soot in a lamp was not up to his satisfaction.
He rejected around 100 shaving brushes and cancelled shooting for several days till he got the perfect one in the 1966 movie “Nayak” (The Hero) starring Uttam Kumar.
Remains of carcasses were collected from roads during journey, to be used in a dumping ground scene in the 1981 Hindi Doordarshan film, “Sadgati” (The Deliverance).
Satyajit Ray’s famous eye for detail was thus remembered by the master film maker’s technical craftsmen at a programme, organised by Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI), the fully funded autonomous institute under the Ministry of I&B, here last evening.
One of those having taken part in the programme, held as a part of Ray’s 95th birth anniversary, was Subrato Lahiri, assistant cinematographer and assistant director in 21 of his films. Lahiri remembered that during the shooting of a scene in “Shatranj Ke Khilari” (The Chess Players), a lamp was a part of the set and soot should have accumulated on it.
“However, the amount of soot accumulated was not to his liking and he asked art director Bangshi Chandragupta to add more soot to it. It took over half an hour and renowned actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi and Amjad Khan waited without complaint,” said Lahiri.
Ray’s assistant editor and assistant director for over 30 films, Ramesh Sen, shared an anecdote in which the filmmaker rejected around 100 shaving brushes and cancelled shooting for several days.
Though the brush was required for a brief scene, the “Pather Panchali” director was not satisfied with the ones he was provided with to be used in the shoot. Finally, he settled for one shaving brush brought from the home of another film director Tarun Majumder, said Sen.
Sen, now a member of Ray’s son Sandip’s film unit, also recalled how Ray made him (Sen) collect remains of animal carcasses during travel to recreate the dumping ground scene of “Sadgati”, starring Om Puri and Smita Patil. Assistant cinematographer on Ray’s 22 films, Anil Ghosh, too shared an interesting incident in which the director-producer tweaked the script of “Sadgati” on the sight of rain clouds.
During the shooting in Rajasthan in early ’80s, Ray sighted rain clouds one day and decided to shoot an emotional scene between Puri and Patil.
Ghosh said Ray exactly predicted that the rain will continue for one hour and it did and no rain machines were used in that scene.
The discussion, “Spectrum – Satyajit, a series of seminars” was moderated by Ray researcher Sujoy Shome, who said the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted the world premiere of “Pather Panchali” on May 3, 1955.
It was again screened there on the 60th year of the film in May last year and “So it seems prophetic,” Shome said reports Indian Express.