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Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern
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Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern

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Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern

Suranjan Ganguly


Suranjan Ganguly is an Associate Professor and teaches Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a special emphasis on European and Asian Cinema. He has done his bachelors in arts from the University of Calcutta and completed his masters from Jadavpur University, Calcutta. He did his doctorate from Purdue University, U.S.A.

Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern
Satyajit Ray: A doyen among filmmakers worldwide, ushered in modernity in the Indian Cinema, which was then tradition bound.
This book analyses six of Ray's major films, focusing on issues like the importance of education, human biases, women's liberation, identity crisis in Post-Colonial India and the rise of the new middle class.
The movies whose readings form a part of the book are: Pather Panchali(1955), Aparajito (1956), Apur Sansar (1959), Charulata (1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (1970) and Pratidwandi (1970). The famous Apu Trilogy forms an essential part of this book. All the six selected films give an account of Ray's interest in how a culture acquires a composite hybrid shape through the fusion of history and modernity.
The reading on Charulata is an explanation of a woman's growing sense of self in a male world. Four men, in the postcolonial period, are out on holiday from the city and reinvent India in English: this is the main focus of the chapter on Aranyer Din Ratri. As the reader goes through the concluding chapter on Pratidwandi, he gets to know Ray's contemplation about the nature of action in a society suspended between two extremes, that of passiveness and revolution.
In spite of Ray being one of the leading directors of the world, only a few books have been published on him. Suranjan Ganguly offers a radically different approach by placing Ray's films within the socio-cultural and historical context of Indian modernity. Not only will it enable the Western readers to comprehend the maestro's work, but also it will provide deep insights into his typical style of filmmaking to his compatriots.
"… provides a solid introduction to the themes and stylistics of the great Bengali director … Ganguly's useful bibliography makes this an excellent place for undergraduates to start."


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