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When Satyajit Ray nearly escaped an accident which could have cost him an eye…
Late veteran filmmaker Satyajit Ray is a name that needs no introduction. He was India’s first internationally recognised filmmaker. It’s been 25 years after he has left the world, but still his work makes him an inspiration for many and the most well-known Indian director when we talk about world cinema. In a career spanning more than three decades, Satyajit Ray is popular for helming classics like ‘The Apu Trilogy’, ‘Aparajito’ (in Bengali language) and his single film in Bollywood ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’. However, recently we came across an incident that not many would be aware of. The legendary filmmaker had almost lost his one eye during the shoot of his Bengali film ‘Sonar Kella’ (1974).
Veteran actor and poet Soumitra Chatterjee recalled about this incident in his memoir ‘The Master and I’. It was during the shoot of a scene in a car on a Highway which had Soumitra along with his co-stars Santosh Dutta and Siddhartha Chattopadhyay in it sitting in the rear seat of the car. Satyajit Ray was sitting in the front seat next to the driver, operating the camera himself. (Also Check: Remembering the legend: Lesser known facts about Satyajit Ray)
Soumitra Chatterjee has said, “With everything ready for a take, Manik da (as Ray was fondly called by people very close to him) had just taken his eye away from the camera when a drunk truck driver collided with the rear of our car. If it had happened a few seconds earlier, Manik da would have lost an eye.”
After this shocking incident, Soumitra added saying, “The entire unit came running up to find out if he (Ray) was all right. But Manik da ignored what might have happened to him and checked on each of us individually.” Well, this evidently shows how much the filmmaker cared for other people’s safety who worked with him.
We could only say that it was due to God’s grace that Satyajit Ray remained safe and escaped this accident.
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