A Tryst with Ray’s Palamu


A Tryst with Rays Palamu (1)

My first taste of Satyajit Ray’s cinema started at the age of ten when we used to stay in Bangalore. Those were the days of VHS video cassettes and my father showed us the Apu Trilogy. Honestly speaking then I never did really understand the exact meaning of a Ray Classic. In fact then Stayajit Ray was still alive and yet to receive the Oscar for his lifetime contribution.

It was 23rd of April 1992 we were celebrating my sister’s birthday in Bangalore, this day also happened to be our last day in Bangalore as my father had decided to move back to Kolkata. There were many guests in the party and after every one had left my father turned on the television to watch the news at nine on Doordarshan. It was then we came to know that Satyajit Ray was no more.

Fast forwarding twenty years to 2012 when I had already started working and had a family of my own did I really get the chance to understand Ray and his style of movie making. During the summer vacations my wife would visit her parents in Ranchi along with our daughter Rianna. I had to obviously stay back in Kolkata due to office commitments and during these long days of forced bachelorhood I would often watch Ray Classics.

One fine day I chanced upon Aranyer Din Ratri, since my wife was from the state of Jharkhand and moreover being from the Munda Tribe this movie struck a chord in me. Somehow I wished to make such journey along with friends in a car on my own someday.

In the year March 2015 I got such an opportunity to team up with two of my friends to make a trip to Betla and Netarhat. We had booked a car and this was the first time we had teamed up with Aftab, our trusted car driver with whom in future we had done many such long drives.

As per our schedule we took the following route Ranchi à Betla à Netarhat à Ranchi. Betla which is part of the Palamu range also happened to be the place where Aranyer Din Ratri was extensively shot. When the car crossed the North Koel river overlooking Kechki confluence I remembered the shot from the movie where the four protagonist were entering the Palamu village.

One of the days during our stay in Betla we decided to visit Kechki confluence, this meant that we were actually following Ray in his journey to the famous Kechki Forest Rest House. Though most of the surroundings have changed but I managed to stich some of the scenes.

A Tryst with Rays Palamu (2)
Roads around Palamu
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (3)
Roads around Palamu as Seen Now
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (4)
Occasional Dense Vegetation As Seen From the Car Window
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (5)
Somewhat Similar Dense Trees Seen Occasionally During Our Drive
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (6)
Occasional Dense Vegetation As Seen From the Car Window
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (7)
Somewhat Similar Dense Trees Seen Occasionally During Our Drive
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (8)
Ambassador Car Entering the Village
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (9)
Our Indica

The Koel Forest Rest House is around ten kilometres from the main Betla forest entrance. Though there are provisions to stay here but you must remember that this is not a hotel and expecting an attached restaurant is out of the question. You need to book this by contacting the Jharkhand Government – Department of Forest. Once approved there is a caretaker who doubles up as a cook also to look after you. You need to provide him with the raw materials with which he will happily cook for you.

It is also to be noted that the current structure is not exactly what was seen in the movie. It was blown up by the Maoist rebels few years back and only recently it has been renovated. Thus do not expect the exact same type sections but more or less from the outside it looks similar.

 

The Roads Sometimes Become Pretty Small
The Roads Sometimes Become Pretty Small
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (11)
Similar Small Roads with Trees on Both the Sides
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (12)
Paved Roads Give Way to Sandy Stretches
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (13)
Similar Unpaved Sandy Still Exist Today
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (14)
Paved Roads Give Way to Sandy Stretches
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (15)
Similar Unpaved Sandy Still Exist Today
Koel Forest Rest House (Note the Palash Tree on the Left)
Koel Forest Rest House (Note the Palash Tree on the Left)
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (18)
Koel Forest Rest House (Palash Tree Still Exists)
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (17)
Koel Forest Rest House

 

Koel Forest Rest House
Koel Forest Rest House

The forest rest house is situated right at the banks of Kechki confluence. You can reach the confluence on foot from the right side. From inside of the rest house you will be able to see both the rivers, Auranga to the left and North Koel to the right. This place has got some of the most fantastic view of the confluence.

 

View of Kechki Confluence from the Rest House
View of Kechki Confluence from the Rest House
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (21)
View of the Confluence Now
View of Koel River from the Banks
View of Koel River from the Banks
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (23)
View of Koel River from the Banks at Present
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (24)
Dense Deciduous Forest around Palamu
Similar Forest in the Month of March
Similar Forest in the Month of March
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (27)
View of the Auranga River from the Banks – The Bridge Broke During a Flood

Ray played with the natural beauty of the place in most of the shots. The most remarkable according to me was the Memory Game played by all the central characters in the movie. According to various reports this was shot at Kechki. This can also be see when panning the camera during the game. Though not sure of the exact spot but I think it’s to the left of the forest rest house, there is a long stretch of fertile grass land with tall trees. This is the place from where you access the Kechki confluence.

A Tryst with Rays Palamu (28)
Memory Game As Shown In the Movie
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (29)
Possible Location will be the Green Spot on the Left Side
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (30)
One of My Favourite Shots from the Movie
A Tryst with Rays Palamu (31)
The Three Protagonist in My Story…Blog

If you have not seen the movie then I would surely recommend you to buy the DVD and watch it once. You can get the DVD / Book from the following online stores:-

http://www.amazon.in/Aranyer-Dinratri-SOUMITRA-CHATTERJEE/dp/B00K6EO8U8

http://www.flipkart.com/aranyer-dinratri/p/itmdytz2rywggwhw

Stills from the original movie courtesy Shradha Home Video
Advertisements

11 thoughts on “A Tryst with Ray’s Palamu

  1. Wow…I can very well imagine it must have been an overwhelming experience really. To actually be there where some of your most memorable characters and moments had been to. Loved the way you presented the actual film shots and your own. And it was relaxing to see them stay just the same ! I saw the film after 1st year I guess…and with time it has come to be a defining film for our age group I think. The city bred middle class lesser mortals at the start of their careers. The higher you rise the lower you fall!!

    Like

    1. Thanks Sohail, surprisingly there were also four individuals in my journey which includes the driver… I can now relate each of the movie character with us. In reality the movie and of course the main novel in itself was based on the typical middle class from the city which I guess we all are… Please do come in my next journey…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s