There's been no filmmaker like Satyajit Ray: Benegal

Jerusalem: Acclaimed director Shyam Benegal believes Indian cinema will always be known as 'before and after Satyajit Ray' and says no other filmmaker has ever been able to emulate the quality of filmmaking that the "Pather Panchali" helmer possessed. Benegal addressed a nearly-packed auditorium at the launch of "Satyajit Ray Film Retrospective" in Israel. The National Award-winning director said Ray's entry into the Indian cinema gave a sense that "nobody knew what had hit them", changing the whole of filmmaking, particularly "relating to subjects and the manner in which he handled them." "Satyajit Ray was, of course, the most important Indian filmmaker. I don't think there has been another of that quality since," Benegal said. "But Ray also occupies historically a very interesting position in Indian cinema because when you talk about Indian films, you always say this is something before Ray and this is something after Ray." Seven of Ray's classics - the trilogy ('Pather Panchali', 'Aparajito' and 'Apur Sansar'), "Jalsagar", "Ganashatru", "Ghare Baire" and "Aguntuk" will be screened in Cinematheques in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa for two weeks. Describing the release of Ray's "Pather Panchali" in 1955 as a watershed in the evolution of Indian cinema, Benegal said that it was a landmark moment that turned everything upside down.

Harinder Mishra