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Bollywood actor Khan’s directing debut, Taare Zameen Par (Stars on Earth), will open this year’s Indian Film Festival (Sydney August 29, Melbourne Sept 3), which will include a Satyajit Ray Retrospective.

Satyajit Ray was one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His thirty or so films, which put India on the map of world cinema, include Apur Sansar, Devi, Ghare Baire, Jalsaghar and Pather Panchali. Beginning with Pather Panchali, released in 1955, Ray won almost every major prize. In 1992 Satyajit Ray was awarded a special Lifetime Achievement Oscar.


What makes Ray unparalleled in cinema is his versatility. No director was more personally responsible for his films than Ray. He wrote his scripts solo, and they were often original screenplays. He designed the sets and costumes down to the smallest details. He acted out the roles for his actors with consummate nuance. He operated the camera and he edited each frame. He composed the music, scoring it in a mixture of Western and Indian notation. He even designed the credits and posters, having earlier worked as a professional graphic designer and illustrator.

Bollywood actor Khan’s directing debut, Taare Zameen Par (Stars on Earth), is the story of Ishaan Awasthi, a dyslectic eight-year-old whose world is filled with wonders that are just not important in the world of adults. When he gets into far more trouble than his parents can handle, he is packed off to a boarding school to ‘be disciplined’.


Other highlights of the festival includes the romantic comedy Jab We Met, directed by Imtiaz Ali; Aditya (Shahid Kapoor), a defeated industrialist, is even more broken as the girl he loves is getting married. Disappointed, he aimlessly boards a train where he meets Geet (multi-award winning actress Kareena Kapoor) - a beautiful but annoyingly talkative girl who is leaving Mumbai to go back to her hometown from where she has plans of eloping with her boyfriend who lives in Manali.

Also in the program is Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (A little love, a little magic) directed by Kunal Kohli, about ordinary people who wish for a little bit of magic intheir lives, and don't realise the angels who bring it are right there amongst them.

Published August 21, 2008

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Stars on Earth

Satyajit Ray

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