On legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s birth centenary, a city-based illustrator has re-imagined 10 of his most iconic film posters to pay a tribute to the everyday heroes saving us in this hour of crisis
Mitra’s re-imagination of Pather Panchali. Pics Courtesy/Aniket Mitra
Every year on legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s birth anniversary, Goregaon-based visual artist Aniket Mitra tries to celebrate his childhood icon in his own way. A couple of years ago, it was a set of witty minimalist posters of Ray’s films; last year, it was a lively sketch of a selfie of the bossman with some of his illustrious colleagues. But this year — Ray’s birth centenary — with all that’s going on around us, Mitra, a storyboard consultant who’s worked on hits like Dil Bechara, was in no mindspace to celebrate. “I lost my father in late 2020, and have been devastated with the current state of affairs,” shares the Kolkata native who’s been helping coordinate Covid-19 relief work.
“A couple of days before May 2 [Ray’s birth anniversary], it struck me how the titles of most of Ray’s iconic films are intrinsically linked with our current crisis. Ray’s films have always been about the common people — the ones steering us out of this crisis today. I felt this would be a good time to pay a tribute to these folks, who, without any political backing, are helping us every day,” he adds.
The labour of a day’s work, and perhaps the last 14 months’ exasperation, is ‘Ray’alisation — a series of 10 posters of Ray’s films, re-imagined by Mitra to depict the current crisis. The illustrated tribute to the master, which has been widely shared, in Mitra’s words, commemorates “satya-r jeet”, or the victory of truth.