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Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne – The Best of Ray

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne – The Best of Ray

Postby Dr. Debasish Bhattacharya on Tue May 22, 2007 4:08 am

Satyajit Ray presented us a number of masterpieces in celluloid, whether in black-n-white or in colours. It is difficult to zero down on one for considering it as the best of his creations. It is tougher for me as being a sincere fan and self-made critic of his cinema. But, when I go deep thinking all pros and cons of constructive criticism, there features only one name topping the list always. That is Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (Googababa). Why!

I have seen Googababa for the first time in 1968. As a child I was glued to the screen. Ray made it in such a manner that as a Bengali child being brought up in Kolkata proper during 1960s would undoubtedly be attracted to. And that happened too. It was a mesmerizing experience watching Goopy and Bagha’s journey from non-entity Amloki and Hortuki villages to the royal palace of Shundi and Halla, ultimately each having half the kingdom and the crown princess of the countries. With the added pint of tiger and the King of the ghosts around, Googababa was the ultimate kind of a film to see and enjoy at that tender age.

I must admit here that I have watched it for not less than 100 times. Today, watching Googababa along with my seven year old daughter Anandi is a favourite week-end refresher for us. I am surprised that Googababa has not lost its charm yet and it attracts my daughter, being brought up in a totally different ambience of Delhi, as much as it did to me as a Kolkata kid. This is certainly a property of a classic creation, that never gets irrelevant, even beyond generations. But, is it only a child-watch fairytale?

In the first place it seems so. But, Ray has presented his very concern and critical appraisal of political process happening all over the world in the pack of a child-watch fairytale. All its main theme is so relevant in the present day context that one is left with astonishment that how could Ray expressed such a difficult subject in such a layman’s language, so to say in child’s language! Googababa, thus, is a masterpiece with no parallel.

Goopy and Bagha had been thrown out of their villages as a result of village level politics, having its base on petty issues, casteism, exploitation of innocence, etc. This is still happening all around. One developed country’s greed to exploit other developing countries, grabbing others’ wealth, ruining others, taking rule over others, etc. of the world politics have also been depicted in such a simplistic way that one has no way other than praising the film for this credit. This universal realism presented to us through a fairytale format has made this movie a success, a masterpiece and an appeal beyond perish. In other words, the seriousness of the issues never could dominate the story-telling craft of the fairytale kind. This is the most significant achievement of Googababa. Beforehand, and even afterwards, Ray has made several films on social issues, but he had for the first time used this narrative style to depict such a serious issue in so much simple but lucid way. I think, for this, the movie has become immortal.

Coming to different film-making departmental works, it undoubtedly represents a film-maker’s mastery over the wholesome craft. You name it and you get the best of its kind. Whether it is the screenplay, or the photography, the picturization of events, the casting, the locales, the special effects, the lyrics, the music, or above all the direction, everything has the ultimate touch of class.

So, if I am to choose from Rays best of the bests, I shall select Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne as the “Numero Uno”.
Dr. Debasish Bhattacharya
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:58 am
Location: New Delhi

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