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Sukumar Ray (1987)

| Short, Documentary
The life and work of the writer Sukumar Ray, Satyajit Ray's father. Ray made this film as a tribute to celebrate the centenary of his birth. The film comprises still photographs and readings from Sukumar Ray's writings.


Satyajit Ray


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Credited cast:
Soumitra Chatterjee
Utpal Dutt
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Haradhan Bannerjee
Satya Bannerjee Satya Bannerjee
Tapan Chatterjee
Santosh Dutta Santosh Dutta
Rabi Ghosh


The life and work of the writer Sukumar Ray, Satyajit Ray's father. Ray made this film as a tribute to celebrate the centenary of his birth. The film comprises still photographs and readings from Sukumar Ray's writings.

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シュクマル・レイ See more »

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29 November 2013 | by souvikmeetszeusSee all my reviews

God knows how I had not watched this documentary earlier, specially as I claim that Sukumar Ray is my most revered Bengali, and not that I didn't know about it, but it had skipped my mind somehow. Well, here is a man, about whom any accolades would fall short. Born in a family with an exceptional gene, which was manifested for two generations before Sukumar and a generation after him (then getting too diluted, spawning Sandip Ray), this man is the sharpest, most cynical and most, bloody most, humorous author to have existed in Bengal (in my opinion, the world, easily comparable to Dahl and Wodehouse and the often mentioned Carroll; I have not read all the great humorists in the world though, so an amateurish but emotional opinion). His writings were some of the first literature I got my hands onto and I have read his complete works almost 20 times, rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes at 4 or 5. That is just so that you know this person has affected me in a way that probably only The Beatles have, and these two remain my greatest influences till today, a belief only cemented by this work of Satyajit Ray, as a tribute to his father's centenary year of birth.

It really saddens me, because most of the world will never discover this man's genius, for no translator in the world can match his word play, or even come close to create the magical rhymes of his works. It is uncanny how at once he was an astute observer, a knowledgeable science enthusiast, a tremendous artist, a natural humorist and a clever author. All this comes together to create his works: (1) a collection of amazing and sparkling science articles (credit to him, I knew what a beaver was and what gibbons look like and Livingstones journeys by 8 years of age). He has done an unparalleled job of conveying science to kids in excellent, lucid language. (2) his immortal creation, Pagla Dashu, a quirky character created before quirky was cool, and not without huge portions of satire and humor. The character plays crazy pranks on his schoolmates, and all are extremely brilliant satirical attacks on the human nature, and to think of its been 100 years. (3) his plays, written for Nonsense Club when he was a student, are striking pieces of social critique and again extremely humorous. (4) the piece that captures his ability to create satire through word play, The Diary of Heshoram Hushiar, an epic tale, a Jurassic Park with a cynical edge. (5) his para-masterpiece, HaJaBaRaLa, that instantly draws parallels to Alice, but I would say it is more, under the nonsense humor and satire, a sort of historical attempt at adopting the global mentality into the Bengali household, an epic on those terms. (6) his masterpiece, some of it made on death bed, the collection of some of the most insanely beautiful nonsense verses, Abol Tabol (Gibberish), a work that will appeal to any age group. Simple words, and some delicious words coined by Sukumar Ray, merge to form poetry that is at once funny, satirical and resplendent with sheer originality. Cannot even begin to discuss that book, in which, he foretells his death in the last poem.

Today, he stands almost forgotten, a relic from the past, best known for being an author for children and more importantly, Satyajit's father. Unfortunate, for he is a legend in his field, an untouchable institution that was a living powerhouse of energy and creativity, and his legacy has not been ever threatened by anybody, for nobody has touched the humorous heights that he gave unto Bengali literature. A life cut short at 36, by the then incurable Kalazar, his works shall be timeless as it is blessed by class and not academics. In his own way, he has rendered all his work untranslatable, though Satyajit manages it pretty well in the documentary, but the true flavor and the true satire will never be understood by a major part of the world. That really really saddens me, like it saddens me to not know German to understand Kafka to the fullest.

The translators can learn all the language they can, but they will never have that brain that used it. What a man.

The documentary is very good. Watch it guys.

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