The Satyajit Ray Drinking Game

Although I’m not through Ray’s complete filmography as director quite yet (21 down, 15 to go, including all of the documentaries), I’ve identified a few visual and plot elements  he seems to be fond of. This is not a complaint—he uses them for good reason—but they are increasingly familiar, and as such they merit their own special recognition in this time-honored tradition.

  • People looking through windows partially obscured by slats, shutters, curtains, or bars: Abhijan, Monihara, Devi, Mahanagar, Charulata, Aranyer Din Ratri, Two.
    Charulata-00293Screen shot 2012-10-26 at 10.32.47 PM
    Subset: people looking through binoculars: Charulata, Kanchenjungha, Joi Baba Felunath.
  • Socially awkward picnics: Aranyer Din Ratri, Kapurush, Shakha Proshakha, Charulata.
    Screen shot 2012-10-27 at 6.46.08 PMKapurush_11.48.30 PM
  • Paisley bathrobes, particularly if the wearer is sulking, brooding, or making a pronouncement: Charulata, Nayak.
    Charulata-00121Nayak(Bengali)-10.19.30 PM
  • Women quietly knitting: Kapurush, Shakha Proshakha, Kanchnjungha.
    Kapurush_10.27.55 PMShakhaProshakha-00126
  • Drawings accompanying opening titles: Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Kanchenjungha, Sonar Kella.
  • Paper cut-outs: Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Chiriyakhana.
    GoopyGyneBaghaByne-10.28.29Chiriyakhana1-12.41.02 PM
  • A friend adds that his wife says that if you drink every time Topshe is making a facial expression other than a “Colgate smile,” you’ll be in fine condition to drive, even after both of the Ray-directed Feludas.

Add to the list in the comments! We’ll be inebRAYated in no time.


12 thoughts on “The Satyajit Ray Drinking Game

  1. Trains! Chug along with those beautifully crafted scenes of trains passing-by (Sonar Kella, Abhijaan, Apur Sansar). To make it broader: anything to do with trains e.g. the grown Apu living by railway tracks. (exception: Nayak)

    • Oh, good catch! I think it’s a fascination shared by his fellow directors and who can blame them really. They are so excellent for all sorts of purposes.

      Chiriyakhana didn’t have a train scene but the close up of the One Armed Flunky at the train station was so classic Ray.

  2. I was actually thinking of trains while going through Sonar Kella pics last night but then I wondered if everyone does trains and they aren’t particular to Ray enough to count. But who cares, let’s count ’em. Certainly that shot of the train far away in Sonar Kella, with the camels paralleling it, reminded me a lot of Apur Sansar.

  3. Long ago I had written a brief post about Ray and trains with three of my favorite scenes: (unfortunately, the video for the Abhijaan scene doesn’t exist anymore; Robi Ghosh’s tensed expression is one his finest bits of acting).

    Railways have been used by other directors, but I can’t recall if contemporary Bengali directors made trains as much of motif in their movies as Ray did. Certainly trains were a connection between the three Apu movies. There was an interview in which Ray spoke about trains being a symbol of journeys and connections.

    • Lovely post – thank you for sharing that. Your commenters make some great points too – I’d forgotten about Mahapurush, but that’s one of my favorite parts, especially when Gitali Roy makes those hilarious faces (I think they’re in response to what her dad is talking about with the guru?). LOVE.

    • Ha, we were just discussing that the other day. I wonder why it didn’t occur to us. Also, I just realized Charulata is basically her confined in a giant, ornate birdcage, looking out through the bars.

  4. Pingback: The Food Post | VintageSareeBlouse

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