Calcutta Film Society
1947, A Film Critic
The aftermath of the world war saw Calcutta filled with American GI’s. The cinemas were showing the latest Hollywood productions. It provided Ray and his friends a feast of films.
In 1947, with a few friends like Bansi Chandra Gupta, Ray co-founded Calcutta’s first film society. Battleship Potemkin was the first film they screened.
Soon, Ray started writing and publishing articles on cinema in newspapers and magazines, both English and Bengali. A collection of such articles, written during the period 1948 – 1971, was later published as ‘Our Films, Their Films’.
Meanwhile, Ray had developed an another interest – writing screenplays for his own pleasure. He would take a story or novel for which a film had been announced, and would write a screenplay. He would then compare his screenplay with the finished film. Some times, he would even write a second version after seeing the film.
His friend Harisadhan Das Gupta had acquired rights for Tagore’s Ghare Baire. Ray wrote the screenplay; Harisadhan Das Gupta was to direct it. The film was not made because Ray refused to make changes in the script as suggested by a doctor of venereal diseases who was a friend of the producer. Thirty-five years later when Ray made a film on the same novel, he thought it was a good fortune that film was not made. He found his old screenplay “an amateurish effort in Hollywood tradition”.