Ray: Uneven, but worth a binge (IANS Review; Rating: * * *) (Ld)


“Ray” (Anthology series on Netflix); Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Gajraj Rao, Shweta Basu Prasad, Anindita Bose, Ali Fazal, Kay Kay Menon, Bidita Bag, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Radhika Madan, Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor; Direction: Abhishek Chaubey, Srijit Mukherji, Vasan Bala; Rating: * * * (three stars)


It’s compulsively dark for most parts, often strangely so, the way Satyajit Ray’s oeuvre rarely was. Ray had a way of serving the sombre in layers, with simplistic emotions often acting as mask for deeper subtexts.

The short stories adapted to create this anthology are direct in comparison while establishing grave discomfort. But then, they never said they were recreating Ray. The series is only based on Ray’s writing and the three new-age filmmakers who call the shots on the four stories between them, take creative liberty to alter plots as well as moods, rendering a darker edge to the tales and tweaking the thriller quotient to satiate new-age tastes.

“Ray” makes for a good watch, although the series could seem erratic along the way. The show starts on a high note, maintains the tempo for most parts, slumps a bit in the final story only to come alive right at its end.

You note a couple of things. First, the sheer universal appeal of the stories that set up the narratives. The timelessness of Ray’s legacy becomes obvious watching these tales, crafted for a medium that far from existed in Ray’s time, and interpreted to suit an audience whose definition of entertainment has drastically altered since the decades when auteur lived and created his art.

The other thing that strikes is the fact that despite substantially moving away from Ray’s idiom, the director trio of the anthology has credibly maintained an aesthetic quality with the material at hand. In characters and content, the stories could appear vastly different, but each of the stories retains Ray’s creative spirit somewhere.

Abhishek Chaubey helms “Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa”, the breeziest among the four segments based on Ray’s short story “Barin Bhowmiker Byaram (Barin Bhowmik’s Ailment)”. Manoj Bajpayee is Musafir Ali, a popular ghazal singer who is travelling from Bhopal to Delhi by train. His co-passenger in his first-class compartment is Baig (Gajraj Rao), a wrestler-turned-sports journalist. As they get acquainted, Musafir realises Baig is someone he knows — from a similar train journey 10 years ago. A quirky secret from back then ties their fates.

Chaubey, who revealed a sense of impish humour in past directorials as “Ishqiya” and “Udta Punjab”, lives it up casting two phenomenal actors at their best. With a smart choice of Ghulam Ali ghazals to set the tone, “Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa” is the right start for the anthology.

The mood turns bleak in the second story as Srijit Mukherji narrates “Forget Me Not”, based on the Ray short story “Bipin Chowdhury’r Smritibhrom (Bipin Chowdhury’s Memory Loss)”. The protagonist here is reimagined as Ipsit (Ali Fazal), partner at a start-up who is soaked in his ambition to scale the heights. Dashing Ipsit boasts of a razor-sharp memory, till a chance meeting with a woman named Rhea Saran (Anindita Bose) puts him in a tizzy. Rhea claims they have spent a night together in Aurangabad, and gives vivid details about not just their blind date but about Ipsit, too — details a stranger is not supposed to know. He has absolutely no recall of Rhea, or visiting Aurangabad ever.

“Forget Me Not” scores as a slow burn suspense drama that has an intriguing story of vengeance at its core. Mukherji inserts the right twists at the right moment, and his trumpcard in the cast is Shweta Basu Prasad as Ipsit’s secretary Maggie, who walks into the narrative as discreetly as a secretary might walk into a senior’s room. It is a casting that value-adds to the story and, without giving away spoilers, Shweta impresses with an act that allots minimum footage and limited dialogues, but keeps you guessing all the way.

Mukherji returns to direct “Bahrupiya”, easily most twisted of the four stories and highlighted by Kay Kay Menon’s outstanding performance. The segment is based on a short story titled “Bahurupi (impressionist)”. Kay Kay plays Indrashish Saha, a timid make-up artist who is basically a loser in life. Then, when his grandmother passes away, she leaves him a substantial amount of money and, more importantly, her book on prosthetic expertise. Suddenly, Indrashish is equipped with the power to ‘become’ just anybody. He begins to imagine he is invincible and starts abusing his newfound ‘power’, to his peril.

“Bahrupiya” is a modernday allegory, and its metaphysics need be interpreted for one to savour the story. The plot is gripping and Mukherji maintains tension all through, spreading his narrative all across Kolkata in varied hues — from the lush Maidan overlooking a resplendent Victoria Memorial to the restlessly dingy surroundings of Sealdah station where the city never sleeps. This third story, in many ways, is the high point of “Ray”. It is a story well told, is engaging for the way it gradually introduces the metaphorical subtext and, importantly, lets the fantastic Kay Kay Menon take centrestage.

Vasan Bala’s “Spotlight” ends the quartet. Based on a story of the same name, the finale focuses on Vik (Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor), a young actor whose stardom seems to rest on a particular ‘look’ he gives to the camera. “One Look Vik”, as critics dub him, is gunning to enter Hollywood, although he wears a fake T-shirt that has ‘Scorse Dada’ written on it in Bangla (he means Scorsese, right?). On an outdoor trip to Agra, Vik finds himself in a quandary. A godwoman who goes by the name Didi checks in at the hotel where Vik stays and, just like the rest of the town, the managerial staff falls at her feet. Vik is upset because, suddenly, he is no longer the star around. Didi has stolen his spotlight.

“Spotlight” is a moody and strange piece, uneven in parts. Just like Vik’s ‘one look’, the segment seems to be salvaged by a single incidence — the entry of Radhika Madan around 10 minutes from the end. Radhika enters the narrative just when you were wondering if Didi exists at all. Her act gives the story — indeed the anthology — a fitting closure, as she (literally) runs away with the “Spotlight”.

The four episodes primarily bank on interesting storytelling and acting. While the primary cast is laudable across the board, you spot truly engaging moments thanks to a few in the supporting cast, too. Raghubir Yadav as the hakim (“Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa”), Anindita Bose as mystery girl Rhea (“Forget Me Not”), Dibyendu Bhattacharya as a mystical fakir (“Bahrupiya”) and Chandan Roy Sanyal as Vik’s assistant (“Spotlight”) are perfect props who enrich each story with their roles.

Competently executed, “Ray” manages to sustain interest despite the uneven patches. Definitely worth a binge, and a second season with new stories.

Source: IANS

Next Story

7 Reasons Why You Should Purchase Italian Furniture

7 Reasons Why You Should Purchase Italian Furniture

Very often we see people speaking ever so highly of the Italian furniture they own, while we see others gushing over Italian furniture and expressing their deep desire to own at least one such piece of furniture. Italian design and decor are widely hailed across the world for their strong emphasis on quality and simple shapes that combine both tradition and modernity through the finest craftsmanship.

The way a person decorates their home is a reflection of their personal style and identity. Needless to say, tastes and preferences vary wildly, especially when it comes to items of furniture with regard to their size, shape, texture, and color.  However, regardless of the specific kind of design a person likes, Italian furniture is a dominant player in the furniture and home design industry.

For several centuries, Italy has been considered to be a hub for culture, literature, and the arts as well as architecture and design. Italian style interior design has been the preferred choice for an ever-increasing number of people, and this is not just a recent trend. Italy is a country that is synonymous with class, sophistication, and exceptionally high quality, and this shows in the sheer popularity of Italian furniture today. Italian sofa manufacturers take great pride in the quality and design of their sofa sets, and one need not look far to see that even the most discerning customers are duly pleased with Italian furniture.

So what is it that makes Italian furniture so popular? Let’s take a closer look!

Timeless charm and appeal

Italian sofas, chairs, tables, and other pieces of furniture have a charm that is impossible to compete with, leave alone outdo. Not only are Italian furniture pieces renowned across the world for their quality and appeal, but they are also items whose aesthetic value appreciates over time. Italian furniture has an inimitably characteristic beauty and these furniture pieces only tend to look even better as the years’ pass. The fact that only the best quality materials are used for their manufacture is what makes Italian furniture so sought after.

Strong and durable

While many prospective customers will tend to get deterred or even discouraged by the fact that Italian furniture costs a fair amount of money, these furniture pieces are made with the best quality materials and are guaranteed to last for decades if not centuries. That being said, purchasing Italian furniture should be best viewed as an investment and not just an expenditure, as the elegance, durability, and comfort that these furniture pieces will offer you are their own reward.

Unbeatable quality and elegance

Italian artisans and craftsmen are famous across the world for their dedication, patience, and attention to detail. It goes without saying that Italian products, in general, are synonymous with high quality, and one only needs to look at history to see how true this is. Since time immemorial, Italian manufactures have strived for excellence and have always made sure that the products they make are nothing short of the best. Therefore, Italian furniture is a symbol of Italian perfection, sophistication, and class.

Exquisitely comfortable

The very purpose of furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs, and couches is to provide comfort to people. Italian furniture will not just provide unmatched comfort but will also give any person the feeling of being in exquisite and opulent surroundings. There is no doubt that a handcrafted piece of Italian furniture will convey a feeling of elegance and sophistication.

Wide variety of furniture designs

Many people are under the wrong impression that Italian furniture is available only in very specific parts of the world and that they are few in number. The good news is that this is not true. Artyz offers you a wide assortment of Italian furniture, and you are sure to find something that perfectly suits the design and aesthetics of your home. Not only will you be able to choose from sofas, ottomans, tables, beds, tables, and much more, you will also have the choice of selecting from a wide variety of designs. Given the fact that a lot of hard work and craftsmanship goes into making Italian furniture, you can make your living space truly unique by purchasing one or more exquisite furniture pieces.

High caliber craftsmanship

Italy is a world leader in manufacturing for a number of reasons. To begin with, only the highest quality of materials are used, and this, coupled with the unique and unparalleled skill sets that Italian artisans have, you can be assured of nothing less than the best. Italy has long been hailed for its contributions to several fields of the arts, such as painting, sculpture, music as well as design. That being said, painstaking hard work, unbridled dedication, and sharp attention to detail have made Italian craftsmanship an ideal in and of itself.

Novelty and inimitability

Unlike cheaper, mass-produced furniture that is readily available and most often delivered in a cardboard box, Italian furniture pieces are meticulously handcrafted and made with immense dedication and focus on the details. Italian furniture is very eye-catching and will without a doubt convey a sense of luxury and opulence to both residents and guests alike. Such furniture pieces will have a direct effect on the mindset and mood of residents as they will notice how the furniture pieces enhance and enrich the home.

Before you rush off to purchase Italian furniture pieces for your home, do check out Artyz. Artyz is a renowned furniture showroom in Kolkata that offers you a vast range of furniture choices that can suit the requirements of any living space and can accommodate any budget. As a leading furniture showroom, the focus remains entirely on providing top-quality furniture at affordable and reasonable prices. Simply take your pick from the diverse furniture selection and let Artyz handle the rest. By having Italian furniture in your home, you will be able to liven up your living space in unimaginable ways. The sheer elegance of Italian furniture is what creates a statement like no other style.

Next Story

Inspiring Journey of Rajasthan’s Deependra Singh Shekhawat From Monthly Salaries to Founder of Fifteen Crore Turnovers Company

Inspiring Journey of Rajasthan’s Deependra Singh Shekhawat From Monthly Salaries to Founder of Fifteen Crore Turnovers Company

Guy Kawasaki has rightly said that pursuing your passions makes you more interesting, and interesting people are enchanting. Passion is an underrated term as people believe more in hard work and dedication. We often forget that passion is what guides us to success. Deependra Singh Shekhawat is one of the few who proved that hurdles are hidden opportunities, and when utilized appropriately, they will lead you to victory.

Deependra Singh Shekhawat, being the son of a farmer, has the background of a middle-class family. He belongs to a small village of Udaipurwati, district Jhunjhunu of Rajasthan. However, his status never deterred him from dreaming. Dreams full of his passion gave him the strength to fight the battles in his life. After graduation, he initially started from a regular job. However, he was not content with his occupation. He sensed stagnancy in his career. Soon, he started thinking and strategizing about business. This thought process led him to join a renewable energy company, Adani Renewable Energy, to learn about business as the next step in his professional journey. From then on, there was no stopping him; he was on a roll. In 2015, he established Vertex Solution Company and became one of the top vendors of Adani Solar Energy. He went the extra mile by working with India’s well-known renewable energy organizations as Avada Sola, Tata Solar, O2 Power, and many more.

Deependra says that his passion for renewable energy spawns from the fact that renewable energy is one of the significant contributors to boosting the country’s economy and generating jobs. He further adds that adopting renewable sources of energy is a healthier option. He claims it is high time we start living peacefully with nature for the sanity of itself and humankind. Additionally, he has provided with job opportunities for the youth of his village Sarai and has become the Youth icon of Rajasthan. Despite belonging to a middle-class family, he left no stones unturned to achieve success and rose from the bottom of the pit to flying like an eagle. From having big dreams to making others’ dreams come true, he has come a long way.

His journey is inspiring hundreds and thousands of youngsters of middle-class families throughout the country. People are burning with passion after witnessing the change in his life. His life journey is constantly changing the lives of many for the best. He is igniting the fire of eagerness for victory in them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here