TIFF Cinematheque Retrospective of Satyajit Ray’s Films

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By Zayetta Dasgupta *

The Tiff Bell Lightbox, a theatre with a class of its own, ran Satyajit Ray’s films from July 3 – August 17. The finale was dedicated to Ray’s finest humorous film of 1969, ‘The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha.’ This was an Indian Bengali fantasy film based on a story by Ray’s grandfather, Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury.

On August 17, at 4:00pm, the film began with beautiful sketches of a drummer and a singer, briefly portraying the storyline of the adventures of Goopy and Bagha.

Goopy is a naïve, simple village lad who dreams of becoming a famous singer but has a hoarse voice. A strong believer in his own talent, Goopy carries a ‘tanpura’, and finds his way to entice the King of Amloki, to sing the ‘morning raga’, not knowing that he has been tricked into doing so by shrewd Amloki villagers. The King, annoyed by Goopy, exiles him into the forest.

There, Goopy meets Bagha, another exile from a nearby village and an equally unimpressive drummer. Helpless in the forest, Goopy and Bagha witness a dance by the ghosts. The creativity portrayed in this piece of music showcases Ray’s vision of special effects so many years ago.

The King of the Ghosts, fascinated with Goopy and Bagha’s music, grants them three boons. The three boons give them food, clothing and the power to entertain wherever they wished. They travel to Shundi and the benevolent king, mesmerized by their music, appoints them as court musicians.

There, Goopy and Bagha save the King of Shundi from an attack by the King of Halla, using their wits, music and valour. In the end, impressed by their bravery and intelligence, the King of Shundi gives his daughters’ hands in marriage to Goopy and Bagha.

This hugely entertaining comedy is a treat forever for film lovers.

* Zayetta Dasgupta is a marketing and communication strategist for digital and offline media with a deep interest in the arts. 

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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