Bollywood

Book | Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar: An Unfilmed Visual Script

It’s hard to review a book like Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar primarily because it is more of a collector’s item, and is also likely to appeal mainly to hardcore cinephiles or music enthusiasts.

While on the surface it is the untold story of the documentary that Satyajit Ray wanted to do on Ravi Shankar, what the reader gets is an insight into the friendship that these two legends of Indian arts shared, and the bond that music formed between them.

Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar is a look into both the private and public persona of the one director that is equally known in the West as he is in his native country. It gives the reader an intricate look into the workings of a master and most importantly his thought process. The book looks into his films, in the context of the unfilmed documentary, and in doing so, we also learn about elements, mainly music, that have influenced Satyajit Ray.

Edited by Sandip Ray, Satyajit’s son, and with insights from Ravi Shankar, the book is a gem on account of the sketches by the director of how the documentary was to be filmed. It also contains his notes on film techniques that he planned on using, thus providing an exciting handbook for amateur filmmakers.

With only 100 odd pages, quite a few of them dedicated to the sketches, Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar is something that you would pick up just to enrich your own knowledge about the director and his art and how he went about, or in this case did not, creating beautiful movies.

It is a book to have in your collection if films or music interests you even mildly, but unfortunately it might not have the same appeal for the casual reader. However, the book is worth picking up just for the sketches if nothing else.

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I know you are wondering how a book on Indian Cinema ended up here, in the middle of a travel blog. Last year, around this time, I went off on a tangent and decided to focus on films, via reviews, which captured different aspects of life from across the world.

Similarly, I feel that Indian Cinema is an integral part of who we are here in this country. Most of us breathe movies, love them, and hate them, with equal passion.

Going to the cinema is second nature to Indians. It is a chance for the family to enjoy a “masala blockbuster” together. A way for lovers to hide in the darkness of the theatre for some intimate time. And of course, an opportunity to forget about real life and lose ourselves in the stories on the silver screen for a few hours.

So, this time I decided to feature books based on Indian Cinema (and on a couple of occations World Cinema) that should hopefully give you an insight into what films mean to the people in India and also highlight some individuals who made “Bollywood” what it is – the largest film industry of the world.

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Note: This article contains Amazon affiliate links. If you use these to buy the book, you get it for no extra cost, while I get a small commission from Amazon in return. Thank you

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