Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar (ratheesh) wrote,
Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar

Travails with The Alien

During the 1960s, Satyajit Ray planned to make a bi-lingual film, to be called as The Alien in English and Avatar in Bengali. An ambitious science fiction film, it was developed from a short story by Ray himself, about an alien ship landing on a remote village of Bengal. Ray wrote the initial draft of the script, which added some additional social aspects to the theme. The film was supposed to star Peter Sellers in the role of an Indian businessman, and discussions were in progress with Steve McQueen for the character of an American engineer in the film. Columbia Pictures was planning to fund the film, but eventually it was abandoned.

Travails with The Alien, a beautifully designed book published by Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives, brings out more details about this project. It contains the original short story by Ray, a screenplay for it which was made for a television serial in 1980s, and the complete draft script of The Alien, along with numerous interviews and articles related to the film. There are several photographs and copies of old letters, telegrams and newspaper articles etc. reproduced in the book, and it is a collector's item for Ray enthusiasts.

I felt that the script published in the book is a bit crude with not much of a story to call for. Probably the visual narrative would have made a lot of difference to it if it was made as a movie, or probably there were mode finer details to emerge in the script, as Ray mentions in one of the articles.
Tags: books

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