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!🙂