Satyajit Ray’s hindi films.
By: CR Chatterji.
Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest directors of all times made only two films in hindi, titled Shatranj Ki Khiladi and Sadgati. Both of the films were based on the stories written by Munshi Premchand. In both these films, Ray had shown his mastery of story-telling of direction.
Sadgati was based on the theme of exploitation of the lower strata of the society by the oppressive zaminders in North India. Om Puri played the role of the lower caste villager who used to burn the dead-bodies of villagers for livelihood. Smita Patil played the role of his wife.
Mohan Agase played the role of the oppressive zaminder in the film. It was now shown whether the zaminder had education or culture, but his monetary power had enabled him to dominate the other sections of the society in the village. He engaged Om Puri for the cremation of his dead relative.
At the time when Om Puri, took up the employment he was extremely sick. He brought wood from the forest and laboured hard to cut it for burning the body. In the process he lost his life. Om Puri, Mohan Agase and Smita Patil were sublime in their respective roles in the film.
Shatranj Ki Khiladi was related to the period when India was under colonial rule. Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffery were engaged in playing chess which is called Shatranj in Hindi.
The manner in which the British government annexed Indian territories or princely states was shown in the film. Avadh (Oudh) was still an Indian territory, and Amzad Khan was shown as the ruler of the kingdom. But as he could not pay the taxes, the British Government even seized his territory. Big B was used for commentary in the film as Ray acknowledged his beautiful voice which had aesthetic value. Although these films had intellectual treatment, viewers from different parts of India enjoyed these films. Had Ray survived for a longer time, he could have made more number of bollywood films in future. The films should be preserved.