Soumitra Chatterjee: The Constant Actor

Posted: March 26th, 2021

LONG BEFORE I EVER saw a mainstream Hindi movie, I watched Indian films at the British Film Institute (BFI) and at arthouse cinemas in London. Most of the films were made by Satyajit Ray, but also the occasional Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghose. In those days I could see films only in cinema halls, rarely on television or at special screenings. So when I heard about Ray’s ‘Apu Trilogy’ I couldn’t see it, so I read the novel, in English translation, of Pather Panchali before I watched the film. The first time I saw Apur Sansar (or was it Aparajito?), I had to wear headphones for a simultaneous, live translation, clearly not by an actor, and wondered what had happened to the subtitled print. Now the films have been restored by the BFI and I watched the trilogy again recently, which was a wonderful experience.

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