Madhabi Mukherjee was one of the most celebrated heroines in the ‘60s and ‘70s and some of her most cherished films were with stalwart Satyajit Ray. The master director, who would have turned hundred today made films that put Indian cinema on the world map and his films with Mukherjee, especially Mahanagar and Charulata remain a pride of Bengali cinema even today.
Remembering the Apur Sansar director, Madhabi Mukherjee recalls how he would keep everyone entertained on the set while a shot was being prepared, “When people ask me about my experience of working with the stalwart in the film, I only say he was a great teacher who used to make things easy for the team. The way he used to explain every shot was unique — every scene would get etched in our minds. I still remember how cinematographer Subrata Mitra would take hours to perfect the lighting for some scenes. So, to keep us engaged, Satyajit Ray would show us some magic tricks. Everyone on the sets enjoyed that and we would all get charged up for the next shot.”
She further added that Bengali Cinema was far more evolved than Hindi cinema back in those days and Satyajit Ray was a big reason for that. She then said, “In our days, we were rather uppity about Bengali cinema, which was so much more superior to Hindi films. But there has been a change, and one failed to grasp that Bengali cinema had long been overtaken by Hindi film.”