Sharmila pays tribute to the genius of Satyajit Ray

Singapore: Sharmila Tagore, who inaugurated a retrospective on Satyajit Ray`s cinema here, said she is forever indebted to the great director for introducing her to the wonderful world of cinema.

The actress was just 14 when she debuted as an actor with Ray`s `Apur Sansar`, the last part of Ray`s `Apu Trilogy.

Speaking at the screening of Ray`s 1955 classic `Pather Panchali`, the inaugural film of the 24-day long retrospective on Ray`s cinema, Tagore said, "He introduced me to the wonderful world of cinema and it has been a privilege since then."

"Fifty years after he made his first film and some 20 years after he has expired, Ray remains an integral part of the film world," said Tagore about India`s most famous filmmaker.

More than 200 attended the screening of `Pather Panchali` at the National Museum of Singapore, which was organised by the High Commission of India, Directorate of Film Festival and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Tagore also acted in the filmmaker`s `Devi` before moving to the commercial cinema. She made a return to Ray`s cinema with films like `Nayak`, `Aranyer Din Ratri` and `Seemabaddha`.

"Ray`s legacy was his characters in the film, which featured the struggle of ordinary person. He had a cinematic ability to transform newcomers into characters and ability to create music from ordinary everyday humming of things like the train and telegraph post," said Tagore, adding that not many know that Ray could whistle Beethoven and other classics.

The director, who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar and Bharat Ratna, had a dream of showing his beloved Bengal to the rest of the world, said Tagore.

"He competed with the best in the world. I think his films would remain for ever…for a long time to come for people to appreciate his work," said Tagore.