Veteran actor Dhritiman Chatterjee, who began his acting career with the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, believes Satyajit Ray was a complete filmmaker and in control of every aspect of his craft.
"My experience with every director is valuable to me. But
Satyajit Ray was a complete filmmaker with full control on all
aspects of cinema whether it was the screenplay, costumes or
"The most distinguishing characteristic of Satyajit Ray was that
he was extremely planned. Before the shoot of a film would
begin he would have worked out all the details," Mr Chatterjee
told PTI on the sidelines of centenary film festival here.
Satyajit Ray's 1970 film Pratidwandi, starring Mr Chatterjee, was
screened at the festival.
Mr Chatterjee who has had a four-decade long career in
cinema started his journey with Pratidwandi. The actor later
worked with directors like Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Deepa
Mehta, Jane Campion among others.
"Delhi seems to play a part in my association with Ray. I
was a student of Delhi university when me and bunch of my
friends started its first film society. We were also trying to
bring out a journal for which we met the legendary filmmakers
of our time including Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal
Mr Chatterjee said three years later when Satyajit Ray was looking
for someone to play the lead in Pratidwandi, he called the
actor. "I had a meeting with him, we discussed the character
and I was selected for the role."
Nostalgic about his first film, Mr Chatterjee said, "It was
my very first film and it has passed the test of time. It was
a cult film. It was overwhelming to see that even 43 years
later there were queues outside the auditorium to watch the
Though the actor's own film, Pratidwandi does not
feature in his list of Satyajit Ray's remarkable works. His all-time
favourite Ray films are Aparajito and Charulata.
The actor says his criteria of taking up a project
depends upon his comfort-level with the director and
screenplay of the film. As as actor he believes director's
vision is paramount.
Mr Chatterjee, who has been a part of critically acclaimed
Bengali films like Padatik and 36 Chowringhee Lane, said
audiences are taking the cinema movement forward in Bengal.
"There was a period from late 80s to 90s when Bengali
cinema was producing real slump. But there has been a
resurgence in audience. They are aware of the cinematic trends
elsewhere and do not want escapism. There is also emergence of
young filmmakers who are able to address these issues."