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Thursday, June 30, 2011
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Clockwise (from top-left): Amanul Haq, Sandip Ray (son of Satyajit Ray) and the filmmaker.
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Veteran Bangladeshi photographer Amanul Haq was quite close to legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray and declared that Ray was his guru. A leading publishing house, Sahitya Prokash, has recently published a photo album, titled “Prosongo Satyajit”. The album features many rare images of the iconic figure shot by Haq. The photographer's informative texts accompanying the images add another dimension to this publication. Images depict the workaholic Ray's moods and expressions: at times solemn, and at others immersed in creative work, or just occupied with mundane chores.

Ray's presence on a number of film sets and shooting spots has also been highlighted. The fact that the globally renowned helmer was a family man has also been focused on in the album. Some of the snaps reveal Ray's close association with Kali Banarjee, Ustad Ali Akbar khan, Chidananda Das Gupta, Subhash Mukhopadhyay, Ajit Kumar Guha, Marie Siton, Madhabi Mukherjee, Chhabi Biswas and other famed cultural personalities.

“In the mid '50s, I moved to Calcutta (Kolkata) from Dhaka and met Subhash Mukhopadhyay. Subhashda was very close to Satyajit Ray. He introduced me to Ray and I showed him my photographs. Ray told me that he had seen the images in one of the earlier issues of 'Notun Shahityo'. This intrigued me, and encouraged me to work with him,” Haq reminisces. The low profile and introverted Haq goes on to say, “In my view, Satyajit Ray was a complete human being. Such individuals are rare.”

In a journal, Ray wrote, “I have known Amanul Huq for more than 20 years as a photographer of imagination, skill and enterprise. Over the years, he has kept pace with technical developments and has used them to further his aims as a creative interpreter of actuality. For over a generation, he has virtually recorded every aspect of life in his country, revealing a deep love for Bengali life and culture in all its manifestations. He also has the potential to portray it in film, in documentary form, having been a keen student of the cinema and an observer of my working methods in the early '60s.”

Bijoya Ray, Satyajit's wife, was greatly appreciative of Haq's talents. In her book, “Amader Kotha”, she wrote, “A young man named Amanul Huq came to our house in 1959. His good manners won us over. Manik (Satyajit) liked him and allowed Amanul to photograph him. Amanul became very close to us, even though for a short period.”

British film critic Marie Seton wrote a book on Ray, titled, “Portrait of A Director: Satyajit Ray”. Recalling her meeting with Haq, she wrote, “Early in March 1962, and for approximately a year, I saw a considerable amount of Mr. Amanul Haq and his work. I met him with Mr. Satyajit Ray in Calcutta when I went there to stay for the purpose of writing a book on Mr. Ray's work. I am very deeply impressed by the range of his (Haq's) work, his compositions and the way he captures authenticity at a single moment. I think Mr. Haq is a very outstanding photographer. Mr. Satyajit Ray has the utmost admiration for Mr. Haq over a period of many years.”

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