Auteur Satyajit Ray was not "apolitical" and portrayed it in his films, says actress-filmmaker Aparna Sen. "Many of Ray's critics have called him indifferent to the plight of the urban poor and criticised him for being apolitical.Ray wasn't apolitical at all. No man or woman is. It's just that Ray's politics was not the politics of political parties that were constantly at each other's throat," Aparna said here on Saturday.
Not many people know that the Oscar-winning filmmaker had been at the forefront of the city-wide silent protest against police brutality in 1966, Aparna highlighted while delivering the Ray Memorial Lecture organised by Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives. Aparna, who made her debut as an actress in 1961 with Ray's "Teen Kanya", said the trauma of the food movement has been reflected in many of his films.
The Price Increase and Famine Resistance Committee was a mass movement in West Bengal, formed in late 1958 by the Communist Party of India and other Left groups, in response to the food crisis then.
To buttress her argument, Aparna referred to the scene in Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne showing the "procession of starving soldiers with the song 'O re baba dekho cheye' playing in the background" and "the procession of starving villagers in 'Ashani Sanket' walking from village to city and growing constantly larger in size".