In the first episode of Ray@100 Video Lecture Series, Silhouette editor Amitava Nag looks at the uniqueness of acting in Ray’s cinema.
Talking about Satyajit Ray and his cinema in a very short span is really difficult. He is no doubt a complete artist and one who is a master in so many different aspects of cinema and culture.
Realism in Satyajit Ray’s cinema is the very first of its kind in the context of Indian cinema. Earlier mostly cinematic expressions were borrowed heavily from theatre and also literature.
Ray was one of the first who showed how to evolve a cinematic language which is distinct from theatre and literature.
And that is why he has so many apparently unimportant yet sweet moments in his films and also a few insignificant but memorable cameo roles. Those characters are not indispensable in the narrative, and most other directors wouldn’t have kept that in the script. But at the end of it all we as audience know that those characters add to an experience that is wholesome. There are several such examples through out Ray’s oeuvre.
And because of this ensemble cast he has a pattern of acting in most of his films where the variation of standards between a rank newcomer and a seasoned actor is negligible In his films the job of an actor is not to mouth lines but also to do some business during the scene. And to achieve this, he had to keep his camera at a distance from his actors so that the business done by him or her can be captured. Probably that is why frames in Ray’s cinema mostly are in mid-shots.
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