Ray on Seetha Kalyanam

Firstly, there are a few facts I need to state:
1) I just love “Seetha Kalyanam”. I love every bit of it, except for going through the pain of seeing the hero again and again.
2) I love almost everything produced by Bapu-Ramana combo.
3) I also happen to adulate, admire, worship Satyajit Ray

Now, although I really can’t agree with what Satyajit Ray wrote about “Seetha Kalyanam” and consider it a very harsh remark, it was interesting to read it and appreciate the pleasures of watching a film as a naive viewer, again.

“The chorus of praise showered on the South Indian mythological film “Seetha Kalyanam” (Seetha’s Wedding) launched it on an invitation tour of the international film festival circuit where it won more praise. And yet, in fifty years of film-going, I have not come across a more flagrant exhibition of unmitigated kitsch. As a cultural hybrid which takes an episode from one of the two great Hindu epics, swamps the interiors with Persian carpets, Mughal Chandeliers and comic-strip wall paintings; floods the soundtrack with what is claimed to be a classical Carnatic music, but turns out mostly to be high-decibel film songs a la Bombay; punctuates the story with camera tricks that were already cliches in the early days of the talkies; and wraps the whole thing up in the colours of a chocolate box, Seetha Kalyanam is a concoction par excellence. One could see it as being mildly enjoyable as camp, though that is not how the critics saw it. They took it seriously

This indicates a collapse of sensibility which would send them all back to square one as expositors of Indian cinema to the west, but for the fact that one knows too well the traps a film in an unfamiliar genre from an unfamiliar culture can set for a critic.”

– I am so reminded of the day I watched Sree Ramarajyam, fell in love with it and watched it in parts again, remembered the super-harsh reviews it got from some hyper observant critics and felt that ignorance is indeed bliss! 🙂

Published in: on September 1, 2012 at 7:00 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I know about Ray’s criticism of Bapu’s Seetakalyanam’.1.One need not agree with everything Ray said because he was a great cine-director.2.We do not know the exact period of Ramayana,but it is proved that our country had trade with China,Persia etc.and was importing silk,crystals,silver and other things not available in our land.3.Probably Ray did not read Valmiki ,or Kalidas in original and their descriptions of our ancient cities and royal palaces.4.Reg. music ,it is based on carnatic classical music in that film.5.It is more a ‘sangeetaroopakam’ than a realistic film.6.Anyway Bapu and Mullapoodi should have given a proper reply ,but probably they kept quiet out of deference to Ray.

  2. Thanks to your article. It opened my eyes to the fact that greats like Mr. Ray too can be narrow minded and can stoop to such levels.

    I first read about Mr. Ray’s criticism in one of the articles written by Bapu garu, that Mr.Ray pointed out about the carpets and crotons etc., but did never know for oncethat it went to such ridiculous depths of ‘randhranveshanam’.

    I agree with Ramamohana Rao garu, Bapu and Ramana should have given a fitting reply to this. In fact, the severe and impolite tone of Mr. Ray deserves a rebuke, not rebuttal. Ramana garu is an authority on Ramayanam and can definitely teach Mr. Ray a lesson or two.

  3. मुण्डे मुण्डे मथिर्भिन्न्ह

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