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Satyajit Ray’s films narrated story poetically without casting judgment on any character, says Imtiaz Ali

Imtiaz Ali speaks about Satyajit Ray

Critically acclaimed film director Imtiaz Ali opens up about the characters of his acclaimed film, HIGHWAY at ARTH – A Culture Fest that was held in Kolkata.

Celebrating Indian culture amidst all its grandeur, ARTH – A Culture Fest, the two-day virtual extravaganza finally concluded on a high note in Kolkata. The event witnessed illustrious panels offering pearls of wisdom on the traditional and contemporary narrative of West Bengal covering the entertainment, political and socio-economic aspects of the state brimming with a rich cultural heritage. One of the panels was attended by the acclaimed director Imtiaz Ali who spoke at length with Ashoke Vishwanathan about ‘Satyajit Ray in Today’s India and shared intriguing insights on creating memorable characters in his films.

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Speaking about Satyajit Ray, one of the most iconic filmmakers in the Indian film industry, Imtiaz Ali said “Ray in all his films had something to say and he chose the language of the film accordingly. He was primarily a storyteller. Charulata was incidentally the first film of Ray that I saw and I was old enough to appreciate it and at the same time young enough to feel how different it was from anything I had seen or any story I had been told. I was stunned and felt that how could he say things I have seen around me and he said it so poetically without casting judgment on any character.”

Further talking about being judgmental towards the characters of his films, Imtiaz Ali opened up about his acclaimed film, Highway and specifically, the character who commits the abuse. “I thought about that character a lot after making Highway. Given the cyclic nature of abuse, it is about whose story is being told. There were times I was thinking about the character that committed the abuse and wondering what would have happened to him to make him like this but to go to that extent was not possible for this narrative. But I do feel that I was judgmental to him and that society, the mother, the father who could not protect their child, and who had the compulsion of neglecting her abuse like many people in our society. But there was no time to talk about their side of the story.”

The entire event was live-streamed through the Facebook and YouTube channels of Zee 24 Ghanta & ARTH – A Culture Fest.

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