Kolkata: Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI), the apex body of the huge film societies network of the country (founded by Satyajit Ray in 1959) in its Central Executive Committee meeting held on January 30 in Kolkata, has decided to initiate an international campaign for restoration of the ancestral houses of the great celluloid masters Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.
A press release emailed by Premendra Mazumder, the Vice President of FFSI, says that the properties belonging to the great masters are in a dilapidated condition now. Satyajit Ray’s ancestral house is in Mashua, Kishoreganj, about 115 km North-East from Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Film activists of Dhaka have appealed to the government for immediate renovation and preservation of this house, but no action has yet been taken.
Ritwik Ghatak’s ancestral house is at Rajshahi, about 245 km North-West from Dhaka. Ghatak family had to leave East Pakistan from this house in 1948 and the property was leased out in 1987-88 by the military government to a private homeopathic college which demolished most of the old structures.
Entire film and cultural community of Rajshahi and Dhaka came on street to protest against that misdeed, formed human chains in Rajshahi, Dhaka and Toronto in the last week of December, signed a petition to Government not only to save Ghatak’s ancestral house but also to save other two ancestral houses of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen.
Mrinal Sen’s ancestral house at Jhiltuli, Faridpur, about 130 km West from Dhaka is now under the disposal of a private owner. Most of the property has been demolished to build up new construction. Film activists of Dhaka are demanding for the same, but the government is still remaining silent.
FFSI has decided to take up the issue to the international level so that the Bangladesh Government gives due importance to preserve all these three properties for historical purpose. The issue will be brought to the notice of the Ministry of Culture Government of India, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and UNESCO for doing the needful at their concerned level, the press release signed by Amitava Ghosh, the General Secretary of FFSI, added further.