Ray, Movie's Magician


Starring- Tapen Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Santosh Dutta

I've been wanting to see this movie since I was a kid, and it was worth the wait. An awesome, Awesome movie, directed by Ray at the prime of his career; a movie I totally loved.

Goopy is an awful singer, kicked out of his village for annoying the king with his singing. On his travels, he meets Bagha, an equally bad drummer. Both of them take shelter in a bamboo forest, which, incidentally is home to a group of ghosts. The King of ghosts is fascinated by their music and grants them three boons: they can eat what they like and get the clothes they want with a clap of their hands, they can go anywhere while wearing the magic slippers he gives them, and they can mesmerise people with their music. They hear of a music contest organised by the king of Shundi, and their adventures begin.

This movie has a bunch of lovely songs, penned by Ray himself. The movie is a fantasy which kids adore and adults enjoy, but is also a thinly-veiled allegory of today's world. The lyrics reflect modern concerns, Ore Baba Koto Sena (Oh, how many soldiers) saying how futile war is. When this movie was released, many said it would tank, as it did not fit into either the action or the romance genre, which were the only two kinds of movies popular in those days (and even now). But Ray proved all his detractors wrong, scripting one of the most popular Bengali movies of all time, and scooping up a host of national and international awards in the process. I'll leave you with my translation of my favorite song from the movie, a song with deep meaning and beautiful melody (and some humour from Bagha, which I'm not including, but which adds to the song).

Ek Je Chilo Raja (There was a King)

There was a King,
He had many sorrows.
Look at the King, he weeps,
Poor King, he has many sorrows.

How does sorrow arise?
It is not the sole domain of the unfortunate,
Whose home is lined with gold and silver, he also suffers,
Know that he is also not happy.

Will the sorrow go?
In solitary silence, the King wonders.
How will the King get peace after punishing the innocent,
How will the sorrow go?

How does sorrow go?
Confinement in his prison of a palace doesn't help,
If the King leaves his golden throne and breathes in the fresh air of the field,
Only then the King will have peace.

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