As I was roaming in the library in search of some entertaining book which will amuse me, I found this book – “Goopy Gyne, Bagha byne: The magical world of Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury”. The author’s name might not ring a bell immedietly. Well, infact, he is Satyajit Ray’s grandfather. The title story, “goopy gyne, bagha byne” was made in to a movie by Satyajit Ray too. I did not see the movie but read about the shooting experiences of this movie in Satyajit Ray’s “making movies” essay series. Hence, seeing the book made me curious about the other stories in the book.
Well, coming to the point, its essentially a book for children. Its full of all those fantasy stories of a kind that one would love to hear as bed-time stories from mom, dad or grand parents. Yeah, I am well past that age.. I am well aware of it. 🙂 Nevertheless, I enjoyed whatever was written in there. Perhaps, thats the beauty of this kind of fantasies. Anyone can enjoy them irrespective of the age. Or perhaps, not anyone can do that… if at all one needs that spark of childish innocence left in oneself to enjoy them. The book is a modern day Panchatantra, albeit not a moral-story sort. Primarily the characters are animals, as it is obvious in the “stories of foxes”, “stories of a cat” etc. There are “human” stories too, though.
A distinctive character of all the stories is the element of this sort of comedy … I don’t find a proper name for it now. Lets call it non sensical comedy for timebeing. I had this kind of fascination and awe to whatever is written by the Ray family. Satyajit Ray (the writer only) ofcourse, I explored to the extent possible for me. Sukumar Ray (Satyajit’s father) – I read very little of “abol tabol” through English translation. Over this periods of reading, I noticed that the style of comedy in the grand-father and father was similar. As the days of Satyajit began, a stinge of that kind of comedy stayed back, though his style is a bit different. I perhaps need more observation to validate this, but I believe I am right 🙂
Coming back to the book again, yeah, it was a good experience in many ways, reading the book. Firstly, its entertaining and amusing – the two essential things I was looking for at that moment. It helped me understand the background of Satyajit Ray’s writings better. It made me wonder again at the Ray gene 🙂 .
Final verdict: Its not something like a must read book for all readers. But, its an enjoyable romance. Due to personal interest in any writing from the Ray family, it sorta became a must read for me 🙂
Goopy Gyne, Bagha Byne – the magical world of Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury.
Translated from Bengali by Swagata Deb