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Ray@100 Lecture 2: Glimpses of the City in Satyajit Ray’s Cinema

May 7, 2020 | By

In the second episode of Ray@100 Video Lecture Series, Silhouette editor Amitava Nag looks at the glimpses of the city in Ray’s cinema.

Calcutta, the big city had been represented in a number of films since the advent of cinema in Bengal. Even the commercial films of the 1950s starring the legendary pair of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen depict the flight of an individual from the village to the city. These films engage the hero in city tours to help him discover the city space and, in turn, introduce him with the notions of modernity.

From the point of view of an individual positioned in the city in ‘Apur Sansar’ and ‘Mahanagar’, Ray’s characters (and his camera) started looking outward during the turbulent ’70s in the polemical ‘Calcutta Trilogy’. The individual, in these films, represents the crowd. In accordance with this change of cinematic vision, Ray devised different techniques – handheld shots, rapid tracks etc to capture the unrest that was in the city at that time.

This video lecture, looks at how the representation of the city changed and evolved in Satyajit Ray’s cinematic world.

Silhouette editor Amitava Nag explores several such interesting and unique elements of the CITY in Ray’s cinema in the SECOND episode of RAY@100 Lecture Series – Brought to you by Silhouette.  Watch this space for more episodes!

Click here for exclusive features on understanding Satyajit Ray’s films coming up as part of Ray@100 Centenary Series.

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Amitava Nag is an independent film critic based in Kolkata and editor of Silhouette. His most recent books on cinema are Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee, 16 Frames and Smriti Sattwa o Cinema. His earlier writings include the acclaimed books Satyajit Ray’s Heroes and Heroines published by Rupa and Beyond Apu: 20 Favourite film roles of Soumitra Chatterjee published by Harper Collins India. He also writes poetry and short fiction in Bengali and English – observing life in a platter. He can be reached at
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Silhouette Magazine publishes articles, reviews, critiques and interviews and other cinema-related works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers and critics as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers and critics are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Silhouette Magazine. Images on Silhouette Magazine are posted for the sole purpose of academic interest and to illuminate the text. The images and screen shots are the copyright of their original owners. Silhouette Magazine strives to provide attribution wherever possible. Images used in the posts have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, YouTube, Pixabay and Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.