Ali Fazal was recently seen in the segment “Forget Me Not” of the anthology series “Ray”. The episode is based on Satyajit Ray’s short story Bipin Chowdhury’s Smritibhrom (Bipin Chowdhury’s memory loss). Ali plays an ambitious man named Ipsit, who boasts of a razor-sharp memory, and has a mental breakdown after being challenged over some dates.
“I find myself very lucky it was Satyajit Ray’s short story that eventually evolved into something like Ipsit in ‘Forget Me Not’ in the anthology. It is a modern re-telling of his work, his short story through the eyes of director Srijit Mukerji, and a lot of technicians because it was technical and very sound and it feels good,” exclaimed Ali.
He added, “It was sweet to be just attached to that name and persona if it’s even for a fleeting few seconds. I am just grateful. Jab tak humare paas kaam hai tab tak we are all grateful (till the time we have work, we are grateful).”
Was it tough to take to viewers, who are wholly not aware of Satyajit Ray’s work? “Yes, it was or maybe it is in some sections. In Bengal, they still celebrate him in a big manner but I think a large part of the new younger generations are still not aware of his work and so we had to,” he claimed, adding, “We tried our level best to keep the essence of Ray alive in the work and in my acting. There have been some stellar performances in his cinematic work,” he said.
Ali did not find it a challenge to immerse himself into the story written by Ray. He says he treated the project as a “very new project”.
“I have seen that a lot of people are trying to make comparisons but can’t possibly, because his cinema was very different from his writing. This is a written piece. In fact, in the original there were no female characters. So, we included female characters in our short. We tried… of course, it takes a darker path,” he said.
Ali added: “He was a great man and he led by example. He was a very progressive man. Maybe, he would have liked us for at least attempting “Ray”. If we were making a remake of his film then the comparisons would have made sense. It is our little version and tribute. We have tried to push the boundaries.”
“Ray” released on Netflix on June 25.
–By Durga Chakravarty