Although most people around the world know Satyajit Ray for his award-winning films, he was more than just a director. While Ray scripted, wrote, directed, and even designed the sets for his films, he was also a master author, graphic designer, cartoonist, and music composer. People who grew up reading Ray had a different perspective of the auteur and the incredibly realistic stories he made into motion pictures. A fan of crime, magic, robots, the supernatural, and aliens, Ray explored it all in his books.
Ray wrote in both English and Bengali. His books have also been translated into German, Polish, French, Spanish, Italian, and other Indian languages. On the master’s death anniversary, Silverscreen India brings you a list of lesser-known books written by Ray.
Made into a film by Ray’s son, Sandip Ray, Phatik Chand is the story of a 12-year-old child, who loses his memory after being kidnapped and having an accident, and the juggler Harun, who helps him finally return to his home and parents. The relationship which develops between the boy and the juggler is the central theme of the novel.
Ray’s love for the supernatural is best seen in this book which has stories like Big Bill, Khagam, and The Magical Mystery. Translated from Bengali by the author and Gopa Majumdar, the stories may be in the dark horror genre but they carry an impeccable sense of humour. These stories place ordinary people in extraordinary situations and show the brilliance of Ray’s storytelling.
Vivid imaginations and Satyajit Ray went hand-in-hand as we have witnessed in his many films. In his books too, this could be seen. Twenty Stories features stories of magicians, giant man-eating plants, hypochondriacs, and a host of other entertaining characters. This collection of short stories is translated by Gopa Majumdar.
The Unicorn Expedition and other Stories
While Feluda took all the limelight, Professor Shonku is undoubtedly one of the most noteworthy characters created by Ray. This book talks about Professor Shonku’s journey to look for unicorns and find out whether they exist or not. Shonku travels from Tibet to Sahara and other exotic places in these stories by Ray.
Originally written for the Bengali children’s magazine Sandesh, the stories in this book talk about Ray’s early days, the places where he grew up and the people he grew up around. It talks about most of his first experiences and also the difficulties he went through shooting for his first feature film Pather Panchali.