Sreejit Mukherjee on adapting Satyajit Ray’s short stories for Netflix: Expect reaction from purists

Srijit Mukherjee ushered in a new era in Bengali cinema when he debuted as a director with Autograph in 2010. The film is a tribute to Satyajit Ray’s 1966 film hero and Bengali actor Uttam Kumar, who played the title role. film. Since then, Sreejith has dealt with Ray’s works in other Bengali productions. The new Netflix anthology series, called Re, is Sreejith’s first attempt at adapting the author’s works in a different language.

In the anthology, Sreejith has directed Forget Me Not and Baharupiya, two of the four stories that are modern-day take on Ray’s stories. The other two are directed by Abhishek Chaubey and Vasan Bala. Sreejith says he expects critics to be tougher on him as he has a closer relationship with Ray than other directors.

“I’m expecting a response from the purists, and possibly a thumbs up from those who don’t belong to Ray. People who don’t have any prior knowledge of Ray in that sense or are Ray lovers or purists, me Looks like all four will enjoy the stories. It might be a bit difficult for the purists. Especially in Bengal, Rai is a holy cow in terms of approach and interpretation. So the purists who were very happy with Feluda Ferrot, could find this Bar can guillotine me. I think Vasan Bala and Abhishek Choubey’s music will be easy as they are not from Bengal,” Sreejith shared with News18 during a recent chat.

However, he is up for it, having gone through difficult situations during his debut. “I started with Autograph, which was a tribute to the hero, which in itself was like a culmination of Uttam Kumar and Satyajit Ray, so when I made my debut, many people were quite astonished, voodoo dolls were made and All that. So but the point is that eventually, once you are alive you are ready for almost everything,” he said.

Kay Kay Menon in Baharupiya, one of the four stories in the anthology series Ray.

Ray’s showrunner Sayantan Mukherjee argued that since the anthology series is an adaptation and not a remake, the director can take some liberties with the stories.

He said, “We must understand that these three directors didn’t remake a film, they adapted it. They are such funny adventure stories that they make you want to do more with them, take them to other places. , because he has those abilities. And Ray wrote them for young adults as well. Not that we’ve changed anything dramatic completely. What he was trying to say versus what we’ve said, a big On a thematic level, they coincide. And yes, it’s not like you are remaking Ray’s films, it would have been a different game altogether,” he said.

Abhishek Choubey, who is a part of Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa, is excited about a dream cast to work with Manoj Bajpayee and Gajraj Rao. “With Manoj and Gajraj, it was a fantasy to see these two actors play each other. These guys go back a long way, they were friends in college, but they didn’t work that much with each other. So that equation was going on,” he said.

Talking about the pressure of working with stories of a great filmmaker, Abhishek said, “Obviously, there is weight. But once you commit to making it you own the content regardless of all the reverence attached to it. When he was working on Othello, I remember Vishal Bhardwaj saying, ‘Hey Shakespeare and we are friends’. Obviously Ray and I are not friends, but after a while you just want to impose your personality on him.

In Spotlight, directed by Vasan Bala, religious bigotry and the fandom of a Bollywood star are pitted against each other, in a story that is also a commentary on the obsession with stardom. The filmmaker elaborated, “The story itself, in a sense, has paralleled that, when it comes to popularity, when a movie star comes, people will probably scream. But then when a religious leader, or a spiritual leader, comes, the crowd is going to go to the other side. And we’ve seen it in real life. So the base, the foundation was already there. We started with something really small, like a person who feels entitled enough to take a room is rejected. And I have seen that as an AD, there is a lot of politics about who should be given what room on the sets of the film.”

The anthology series Ray will be available to stream on Netflix from June 25.

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