IFFI 2023: Michael Douglas reveals how Satyajit Ray influenced his early career
Hollywood legend Michael Douglas heaped praises on iconic filmmaker Satyajit Ray while addressing the press in Panjim, Goa during the ongoing International Film Festival of India. Douglas is this year’s recipient of the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be honoured during the closing ceremony of the festival on Tuesday. The actor addressed the press on Monday with his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“I actually had a history of Satyajit Ray back in college, the 1960s taking a film class and becoming aware of some of his work projects as well as his style and being a renaissance man, I think he sort of created the beginning of the Indian era of filmmaking… but the idea of multiple jobs, he was so many things as an author, music editing, as well as director. So it’s a tremendous honour to receive this award,” Douglas said.
The veteran actor-filmmaker also stated that he had watched Ray’s classics Pather Panchali and Charulata during his days in college.
“When I was in the University of California at Santa Barbara. I was taking a film course in 1963. This is about 1964 and one of the directors that we studied a lot was Satyajit Ray. And if I remember correctly, it was a film called Pather Panchali and another called Charulata… But when I realised that he was not only a director, but he was a writer, a filmmaker, a musician and he authored books. He was quite an extraordinary man, and also the sense of dealing with people. You would not think of being heroic or large scale but showing a reality and a texture that we had known about all left me with an impression,” Douglas said.
Douglas, who is also a producer, said he focussed on the ‘material’ when it came to backing a film.
“Material, for me, became the most important. I don’t care what it is but if it is something that feels emotionally nervously and structured — for me a three act structure is very important — that’s what I count on. So if I’m haunted by it, whether it makes me laugh or cry or sexy or not. Then I analyse it and I see the structure. And so I think that’s why I’ve been fairly successful over the years trying to stick with good material,” Douglas said.
“The material is the most important thing. Many actors can play the parts, (what matters is) how good the material is. So I think that’s always stuck with me,” he added.
His wife, Catherine Zeta Jones also shared a personal India story. The actress revealed that it was an Indian doctor who had saved her life when she was all of 18 months.
“It was an Indian doctor who saved my life with a tracheotomy when I was 18 months old. So I wonder why when I come to India I have this feeling of coming home and this is like my tingly feeling and maybe there’s something to do with that, that the reason why I’m actually here is because of the brilliance of an Indian doctor in Swansea, South Wales in the UK, so I’m forever indebted to him,” she added.News Related