Photo Stories

Did You Know Who Kept Satyajit Ray Company?

Abhishek Srivastava - 66 weeks ago

There’s little that remains unanalysed about Satyajit Ray’s cinema. But picking his mind drew the greatest filmmakers of his time like Wazda and Kurosawa. These photos tell it all.

(Satyajit Ray and Marlon Brando before their Doordarshan interview)

The meeting of Satyajit Ray and Marlon Brando happened in Delhi in 1967 when the latter had come to the capital city in the role of UNICEF’s ambassador. Amita Malik, the celebrated film critic of that era, had chaired a joint conversation between the two thespians for Doordarshan. Sadly, the priceless tapes of the conversation now exist no more. That classic conversation between two giants of cinema was lost forever,” were Amita Malik’s words in her autobiography.

(With Akira Kurosawa at an event)

Satyajit Ray has mentioned in detail about his meeting with the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in his book Our Films, Their Films. Ray’s first meeting with Kurosawa happened at a Chinese restaurant in a quiet back street of Tokyo. The restaurant was also Kurosawa’s favourite. A major part of the conversation hovered around Seven Samurai. When the Japanese cinema legend was asked by Ray if he had any Samurai films in mind, Kurosawa said, “No, because there is such a dearth of horses now.”

(Satyajit Ray interviewing Andrzej Wazda for Filmfare magazine)

The 3rd edition of IFFI was held in Delhi and was attended by the Andrzej Wajda. Satyajit Ray was commissioned by Filmfare to interview the Polish filmmaker on the occasion. As per Filmfare “Although Ray was the interviewer, Wazda occasionally came up with the question as the conversation veered round to technique. It was an exchange of ideas between two great directors.”

(Satyajit Ray explaining a scene to Richard Attenborough during the shooting of Shatranj Ke Khiladi)

Richard Attenborough was part of Shatranj Ke Khiladi and had played the role of General Outram. 

(Ingmar Bergman with Satyajit Ray)

The two met each other for the first time in 1964 when Satyajit Ray was asked to present to him the Selznick Golden Laurel Award for his film Winter Light, a part of his ‘Faith Trilogy’. The other two being Silence and Through a Glass Darkly

(Satyajit Ray, Billy Wilder and Michelangelo Antonioni during the 35th edition of Cannes Film Festival)

Filmmakers like Billy Wilder, John Boorman, Andrei Tarkowski, Michelangelo Antonioni along with Satyajit ray were invited by Cannes officials in 1982 to mark 35th anniversary of the film festival. At the Cannes croisette, over cigarettes and coffee, the auteurs exchanged ideas. This was also the year when Mrinal Sen was part of the festival jury. 

(Satyajit Ray and John Hurt in Kolkata)

John Hurt was in Kolkata during the winter of 1987 and called up the legend as he casually wanted to meet him. In the evening the two caught up on the sets of La Nuit Bengali (a French film) at Tollygunge. On the left of the image, a very young Hugh Grant (the lead star of La Nuit Bengali) can be spotted. 

(Satyajit Ray met Peter Sellers during his trip to LA)

Satyajit Ray travelled to LA after he received that news that Columbia Pictures was interested in making a film on his story, The Alien. Both Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen showed interest in being part of the film while Peter Sellers was especially excited about playing the role of the Indian businessman. The time when Ray landed in LA, Sellers was busy shooting for The Party but took time out to meet the maestro. 

(Satyajit Ray and Roman Polanski during the Berlin Film Festival in 1966)

Satyajit Ray and Roman Polanski met each other during the 16th edition of Berlin Film Festival in 1966. It was also the phase when Polanski's Repulsion had just released.  

(Gerard Depardieu at the auteur's Kolkata home)

Not many know that Satyajit Ray’s Shakha Proshakha (1990) was produced by Gerard Depardieu. Gerard was in Kolkata in 1989 to meet the director as part of pre-production on the film. 


Satyajit Ray / Marlon Brando / Akira Kurosawa / Andrzej Wajda / Richard Attenborough / Ingmar Bergman / Billy Wilder / John Hurt / Peter Sellers / Roman Polanski / Gerard Depardieu / The Alien / LA / IFFI / Doordarshan /

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of The Film Hashery.

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