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No one in India has Satyajit Ray’s ‘Sikkim’ print: Son

No one in India has Satyajit Ray's 'Sikkim' print: Son

Mumbai, Sep 18 , Director Sandip Ray, the son of Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray, is elated over a government decision to lift a ban on his father’s documentary “Sikkim” after four decades, but rues that the original negative has perished.

“I came to know about the decision through a newspaper. I am very happy that after such a long time this will be done. This was almost unknown to people. No one has ever seen the film,” Sandip Ray, 56, told IANS on phone from Kolkata.

He, however, regrets that the original “Sikkim” negative perished long back and there are no prints available now in India.

“No one has the print of the film (in India). There is only one print which has been partly restored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. They have a restoration branch in Los Angeles,” said Sandip Ray.

“The original negative is gone. So we don’t have the prints of the film yet.”

Satyajit Ray made the documentary on Sikkim in 1971. It was commissioned by the last Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal, and his American-born queen Hope Cooke. It was banned soon by the government and remained in the cans after that.

Asked why it was banned, Sandip Ray said: “I think at that time Sikkim was a kingdom; later it became a part of India. So naturally, it shows how it was as a kingdom and it’s a part of history. But people remained unaware of that history as it was banned.”

Now a decision to lift the ban has been taken, a government source said. The external affairs ministry has recommended it after being consulted by the information and broadcasting ministry. Coming ahead of Satyajit Ray’s 90th birth anniversary May 2, 2011, the move has raised hopes that the film can be screened across the country. “If it’s shown somewhere next year, we would be really happy,” said Sandip Ray.

Satyajit Ray’s legacy lives on in his son.

Sandip Ray has written “Aami Aar Feluda”, a book on Feluda, the famous Bengali detective created by his father that throws light on the background stories of all Feluda movies and telefilms.

He is also ready with his next movie on the sleuth series called “Gorosthaney Sabdhan”. “This story is ‘Gorosthaney Sabdhan’. This is absolutely a Kolkata story. This is the first Feluda story set entirely in Kolkata; so it will be something different,” he said.

“Like in my previous films in the series, Sabyasachi Chakroborti is playing Feluda, Bibhu Bhattacharya is playing Jatayu. But this time Saheb Bhattacharya is playing the role of Topshe because Parambrata Chakraborty has gone to Bristol for higher studies,” said Sanidp Ray.

The film is slated to release in December.

“Sonar Kella” (The Golden Fortress), “Jai Baba Felunath”, “Bombay er Bombete”, “Koilash-e Kelenkari” and “Tintorettor Jishu” are the popular novels in the Feluda series which have been adapted into films.

While “Sonar Kella” and “Jai Baba Felunath” were directed by Ray himself, the other three films were directed by Sandip Ray.

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