Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Satyajit Ray's casting was excellent in Post Master and Manihara.

Satyajit Ray’s casting was excellent in Post Master and Monihara.

Satyajit Ray was a master of casting whenever film direction was in question. He experimented with Rabindranath Tagore’s epic literature Teen Kanya in his film Teen Kanya. He chose the stories Post Master, Manihara and Shamapti.

In Post Master, Ray’s choice of Anil Chatterji in the role of Post Master showed his immense class in casting of characters. Anil Chatterji displayed the uneasiness of a Post Master in adjusting in village conditions very well. He listened to the rural music of the old villagers. He got frightened to weird mannerism of Nripati Chatterji who played the role of a village beggar. He faced fever, and even in sleep he dreamt about the weird beggar.

Ray’s casting of Chandana Banerjee in the role of the little girl was equally excellent. The girl lost her parents at a young age and served the Post Masters in the village. She took care of Anil Chatterji when he got fever and treated him like an elder brother. Anil Chatterji taught him to read and write. When he got transferred and a new Post Master came in his place, Chandana Banerjee made the viewers weep through her passionate expression. She got attached with the Post Master and did not even take the money offered to her by Anil Chatterji when he left the village.

In Manihara, the casting of Kali Banerjee and Konika Majumdar in the lead roles also showed Ray’s class. Kali Banerjee was a zamindar and Konika Majumdar was his wife. She had a troubled past. She was possessive towards her jewellery. When Kali Banerjee went to Kolkata for work, she asked one of her friends to reach her to her native town.

Konika Majumdar died. When Kali Banerjee returned back, her ghost came and appeared before Kali Banerjee. Kali Banerjee looked at her hand full of jewellary which later turned into a skeleton. A road passer told the story to a visitor who was also a ghost. Kali Banerjee’s frightened expression amazed the viewers.

Ray was a great artist and his illustration helped him to cast the right actors and actresses at the right roles. The characters came out of classic novels and mesmerized the viewers with conviction and accuracy. The film should be preserved for Tagore’s brilliant literature, Ray’ s powerful direction and the effortless performances of main actors and actresses in the film.

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