Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Over one year

The Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films was set up for the preservation of the legacy of Satyajit Ray—as a film maker, music composer, artiste, writer and graphic designer and to make this legacy accessible to the people at large and not just the lovers of art.

Satyajit Ray, arguably India’s finest film maker, left behind a substantial paper archive comprising over 70,000 individual items forming one of the most complete and substantial records of any artistic life in modern India. IFA made a grant to the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films (Ray Society) to sort, catalogue and digitize a section of its archive, and facilitate its public access through the electronic media. This archive includes specimens that span Satyajit Ray’s career as a film director, a composer of background music, a writer and essayist, a designer and an advertising man, as well as the material left behind by his illustrious ancestors.

While protecting the archive, the Ray Society made digital copies of the papers, ensuring that previously inaccessible material was widely available to scholars, filmmakers and the interested public. This also minimized the need to refer to the original and increasingly fragile paper archive. The project thus addressed the twin problems of preservation and dissemination simultaneously.