Kolkata-based Indian producer-director Aritra Sen said he is collaborating with Los Angeles-based British writer-director Alex Harvey to make films inspired by iconic Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray's works, particularly Pratidwandi.
A restored version of Ray's film 'Pratidwandi' (1970) was screened at Cannes Classics on May 19.
Sen's Roadshow Films will be producing two films this year by drawing inspiration from the legendary artist's life and works. A feature documentary, Forest of Humans, will be made on Ray's relationship with Kolkata.
Satyajit Ray has lived all his life in Kolkata. The city is said to have been his muse for several projects. Sen said the city endlessly fed Ray's imagination and in return, he gave the city a sense of self.
Sen added that Satyajit Ray is the reason he fell in love with cinema and wanted to work in the profession. "He is the most complete auteur in the history of cinema. He wrote, designed, directed, edited, and even composed the musical score for his films. You can learn everything from Ray."
Forest of Humans will be directed by Harvey and will explore the many ways in which Ray used Kolkata's diverse population to create an entire cinematic world. The documentary aims to show how Satyajit Ray's poetic world is still mysterious and alive even today. It will be entirely filmed in the city.
Harvey said Ray's films never try to idealise Kolkata but constantly transform how it is perceived. "Pratidwandi's disaffected anti-hero is seen apart from the city and is unable to find solace in its casual pleasures".
The duo announced another project, a contemporary drama named 'Prantik'. The plot is inspired by Ray's classic and follows a young man who is forced to make his own way in the city when his father dies. The story takes place in Kolkata and London. It will be directed by Sen and Harvey will act as the creative producer. The movie is set to hit floors this fall.
Aritra Sen has already produced a series based on Ray's 'Feluda' stories.
The filmmakers are committed and enthusiastic to explore the rich legacy of Ray. They said another period film 'Niru' is also in the works. The story is set in Calcutta in the 1880s when the British Raj was at its height. Iconic works of art like Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's 'A Doll's House' and Satyajit Ray's personal favourite 'Charulata' will be used as inspiration for 'Niru'.