1971, Documentary, India. 60 min., B/W


Sikkim was a small princely state in the Himalayas. This documentary was commissioned by – then ruler of Sikkim – Chogyal of Sikkim and his then wife, an American, Hope Cook.


The film suffered double censorship of the film’s commissioners and of the Indian government, when Sikkim was reconnected to India in 1975. For a long time the film had been lost. Recently (Jan, 2003) a good quality print was found safe in the British Film Institute (BFI). Despite the censorship, Ray reportedly did manage to retain its seven-minute opening and the ending. The opening sequence is an evocation of atmosphere – beginning with a shot of a parallel ropeway with two carriages advancing towards each other, prompted Ray to note, “While they’re reaching this point, I cut to a shot of a piece of telegraph wire. It’s raining and there are two drops of rain approaching on a downward curve. It’s a very poetic seven minutes. And the end is also very lively, very optimistic, with children, happy, laughing, smoking, singing. The whole thing builds up into a paean of praise for the placer”.


Producer: The Chogyal of Sikkim
Script, commentary & Direction: Satyajit Ray
Cinematography: Soumendu Roy
Editing: Dulal Dutta
Sound: Satyajit Ray
Music: Satyajit Ray