The Rays Before Satyajit: Creativity and Modernity in Colonial India

By: Sengoopta, ChandakMaterial type: TextTextPublication details: . Oxford University Press 2016Description: 432pISBN: 9780199464753Subject(s): On Artist | Satyajit Ray | Indian Artists | Indian Cinema | BiographyDDC classification: ARTO
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In the history of Indian cinema, the name of Satyajit Ray needs no introduction. However, what remains unvoiced is the contribution of his forebears and their tryst with Indian modernity. Be it in art, advertising, and printing technology or in nationalism, feminism, and cultural reform, the earlier Rays attempted to create forms of the modern that were uniquely Indian and cosmopolitan at the same time.

Some of the Rays, especially Upendrakishore and his son, Sukumar, are iconic figures in Bengal. But even Bengali historiography is almost exclusively concerned with the family’s contributions to children’s literature. However, as this study highlights, the family also played an important role in engaging with new forms of cultural modernity. Apart from producing literary works of enduring significance, they engaged in diverse reformist endeavours.

The first comprehensive work in English on the pre-Satyajit generations, The Rays before Satyajit is more than a collective biography of an extraordinary family. It interweaves the Ray saga with the larger history of Indian modernity.

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