The Netflix web series ‘Ray’ was released on the 25th of June. From a satire to a psychological thriller ‘Ray’ is an anthology of four short stories from the legendary Indian filmmaker and story writer – Satyajit Ray, that are adapted for the screen. Even though the stories aren’t entirely the same as the original text ones, the directors, Srijit Mukherji, Abhishek Chaubey, and Vasan Bala did complete justice to the late filmmaker’s legacy.
Talking to the Press Trust of India, Satyajit Ray’s son Sandip Ray said, “I am hearing both praises and criticisms and that is quite natural for any work of art, including something adapted from the works of a personality like Ray.”
Forget me not
The first episode is sixty five minutes of what one would call ‘Absolute screenplay mastery’. The acting, direction, narration, and most importantly the screenplay were out of the world. Ipsit Rama Nair (Ali Faisal), a genius entrepreneur who has one trump card over all his opponents, ie. He never forgets anything! But things start to go south for him after he meets a lady at a bar. The lady names herself Rhea Saran (Anindita Bose), and starts talking to Ipsit about the lovely and romantic time they had in Aurangabad and Ajanta Caves. Ipsit on the other hand, cannot find her in the memory files on his computer-like brain. After the meeting with Rhea, Ipsit Nair, the man who never forgets, starts to forget things, almost everything. One single missing memory has such an impact that Ipsit loses it. But did Ipsit really forget about Rhea and Aurangabad? Or is there something bigger going on behind the curtains? You need to watch it for yourself to learn the twisted ending.
The second episode is particularly eerie when compared to the other episodes. Indrashish (Kay Kay Menon) is a struggling make-up artist. His life turns around when his ailing grandmother passes away, leaving him a huge lump of money and with it, her self-written book on make-up and prosthetics, something Indrashish fancies. With his newly gained powers, money, and transformation, Indrashish now steps on to take revenge on those who had made his life miserable. On his way to doing so, Indrashish comes across a godman who can learn about anyone’s life just by looking at their face. In his pursuit to prove his genius of transformation to the godman, Indrashish slams an axe on his own feet. The story has a very strong ending and has a ‘Joker’ vibe to it and Kay Kay Menon has incredibly slipped into the character’s shoes making it look absolutely real.
Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa
The third episode is being critically hailed all over the internet and people are lost in the voice of real life Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali as his ghazal, ‘Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa’ plays in the background. Manjo Bajpayee as Musafir Ali a famous poet and singer and Gajraj Rao as Aslam Baig, a wrestler turned journalist have done such an outstanding job of bringing the characters to life that fans say that Satyajit Ray, looking down from the heavens is surely filled with joy. The story revolves around the previously mentioned characters and a lucky charm that changes the life of whoever accompanies it, ‘Khushbakht’. The incredible screenplay and smooth transitions are really really satisfying to watch. As the story slips in and out of the past and the present, the ending to this episode is witty, humorous, and content. This is that one story you will wish for never to end.
In the fourth episode, Harshvardhan Kapoor delivered such a versatile performance that engulfs one completely. The fan favourite actor ‘Vik’ (Harshvardhan Kapoor) and a God-lady with divine powers, ‘Didi’ (Radhika Manan) unexpectedly come across each other and what plays out next is a tug of war for ‘Vik’ to get the spotlight back from Didi to him. The plot isn’t as interesting as the other episodes, but the soundtrack, the screenplay, the dialogues and most importantly the acting is truly applaudable.
Ray is currently streaming on Netflix.