November 2, 2008

Satyajit Ray In Film India, c.1981

Steve Rosen found a 1981 interview with Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray at the flea market. He transcribed a bit onto Airform Archive, starting with an encounter Ray had with the 1913 Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore:

Satyajit Ray: I'll tell you a story here. In 1928, when I was seven, I went with my mother to Tagore's university. I had my little autograph book, newly bought, and my mother gave the book to Tagore and said, "My son would like a few lines of verse from you." And he said, "Leave the book with me." Next day I went to collect it, and he brought it out and said: "I have written something for you, which you won't understand now, but when you grow up you will understand it." It's one of the best things he ever wrote in a small manner, and what it means is this: "I have travelled all around the world to see the rivers and the mountains, and I've spent a lot of money. I have gone to great lengths, I have seen everything, but I have forgotten to see just outside of my house a dewdrop on a little blade of grass, a dewdrop which reflects in its convexity the whole universe around you."
At first, I thought this sounded incredibly ballsy, but Tagore's and Ray's Brahmin families were close.

From the dewdrop, Ray and the interviewer continue in a discussion of the microscopic, but the power of the quote seems to me to be about ignoring the beauty and profundity of the world right in front of us.

Ray would go on to study with Tagore, and in 1961, Nehru commissioned him to direct a documentary of the writer's life.

...the essence as a dewdrop on a little blade of grass... [airform archives]
Satyajit Ray [wikipedia]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: November 2, 2008.

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