Sharmila Tagore: No need to replicate 'Pather Panchali'

Kolkata: Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, who was introduced in films by legendary storyteller Satyajit Ray in "Apur Sansar" in 1959, believes there is no need to replicate the maestro's films.

Sharmila Tagore. Pic/AFP
Sharmila Tagore. Pic/AFP 

Sharmila was a 13-year-old schoolgoer when she was cast opposite Soumitra Chatterjee in "Apur Sansar", the final film of the Apu trilogy.

"Pather Panchali" was the first film in the much lauded trilogy and was Ray's directorial debut.

"Why should we make films like 'Pather Panchali'? It inspired scores of people and the parallel movement of Shyam Benegal started because of that, so it has reached many many... why should we replicate it," Sharmila posed the query in response to a question by an audience member at a discussion on the 60th anniversary of the film.

Filmmaker Aparna Sen, who debuted as an actress in Ray's 1961 film "Teen Kanya" (Three Daughters), supported Sharmila's point of view and averred that one must make a "conscious" choice not to be imitative.

"In fact, we should make a conscious effort, since we have inherited him, to not to be imitative," Aparna said.

Sharmila added that the path-breaking film "was a product of a certain era and that era has gone".

"So I don't think young people would be interested (in making it)," Sharmila said.

Based on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay's 1929 Bengali novel of the same name, it is widely regarded as the first film from independent India that put the nation on the world map.

It won India's National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1955, the Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes International Film Festival, and several other awards, establishing Ray as one of the country's most distinguished filmmakers.

The discussion was organised by Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives. 

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