(Last Updated on : 19/09/2014)
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1968) is a film by Satyajit Ray. It is based on a story by the same name by Upendrakishore Roychowdhury. Although it is promoted as a children's film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is suitable for audiences of all ages. The music of the film is provided by the director himself. The star cast of the film consists of Tapen Chatterjee (Goopy), Rabi Ghosh (Bagha), Santosh Dutta (double role: King of Shundi and King of Halla), Jahar Roy (Prime Minister of Halla), Harindranath Chatterjee (Barfi, the Magician), Chinmoy Roy (Spy from Halla), Santi Chatterjee (Commander-in-Chief of Halla), Prasad Mukherjee (King of Ghosts) and others.
Goopy is a young farmer's son with a passion to sing but lacks the talent. He is banished by the king from the kingdom as Goopy disturbs the king's slumber with his horrible singing. Disappointed he arrives in a forest on a donkey. There he comes across Bagha, a drummer from a neighbouring kingdom, who has met with the same fate.
They became good friends. Fatefully they bump into a bizarre dance of the forest ghosts. The king of the ghosts is pleased by them ands grants them three boons - they could get any kind of food and clothing, instant travel and they would be able spellbind audiences with their music. The key to all the magic is in two pair of slippers and all they had to do is clap their hands together.
They arrive in the kingdom of Shundi and impress the king with their music contest. In the meantime, the bad king of Halla, twin brother of the king of Shundi, declares war against Shundi. The king of Halla is actually not a bad king but is drugged and controlled by the greedy Prime Minister who takes help from the evil court magician Barfi. With their magic powers, Goopy and Bagha do away with the war. The twin brothers, kings of Shundi and Halla are reunited and they offer Goopy and Bagha their daughters in marriage as a reward.
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne was a commercial hit. Even after years its release the film is appreciated by the audience in the similar kind.
The six and a half minute ghost dance in Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is a scene to watch out for. The visualization and execution make the sequence a visual treat. Satyajit Ray combined live action, shadow puppets and Indian percussion instruments like Ghatam, Mridamgam, Mursring and Ganjra to create the awesome scene.
As far as the performances are concerned it was Tapen Chatterjee's debut film. He was perfect as the simple guy with a benevolent heart. Rabi Ghosh was Ray's one of the favourite stars. He is simply outstanding in his role of the drummer, Bagha. The rest of the cast suits their role. But mentioned must be made of Jahar Roy as the 'mantrimashayi.' But there is more to Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne than just a children's film. It presents the political scenario where administrators can exploit the common men. Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne also narrates the power of magic. There are certain things that are beyond human caliber. Man cannot put everything right. The magical powers of the protagonists symbolize honesty, integrity, simplicity, strength of character and uprightness. These are the weapons with which man can fight corruption and evolve as a winner.
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne received several awards:
Award for Best Direction, New Delhi, 1968
President's Gold and Silver Medals, New Delhi, 1970
Silver Cross-, Adelaide, 1969
Best Director, Auckland, 1969
Merit Award, Tokyo, 1970
Best Film, Melbourne, 1970