BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: Veteran photograph Nemai Ghosh, who is best known for documenting the iconic Satyajit Ray through his lenses, passed away in Kolkata today. He was 86. Ghosh was admitted at a city hospital and suffered a cardiac arrested.
“Nemai kaku had been visiting our house and became part of family since 1968. Baba used to like him very much,” said Ray’s son Sandip.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed condolences over his demise. The CM also spoke highly about his book, Manik-Da: Memories of Satyajit Ray.
Ghosh was introduced to Ray by actor Rabi Ghosh and his first official assignment began on the set of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969). The bond which started in 1969 continued till Ray made his final film Agantuk in 1991. Over the years, Ghosh has clicked countless photographs of the master filmmaker at work and in leisure.
A Padma Shri recipient, Nemai Ghosh had also authored books like Satyajit Ray at 70 and Satyajit Ray: A Vision of Cinema. Often called the shadow of Ray, when renowned film journalist and critic Shoma A Chatterji had once asked Ghosh what made him follow the maestro for decades with his camera and click black-and-white moments for eternity, the photographer had replied, “I was in a trance, such was the power of his persona. I was mesmerised by this towering persona, his ability to get sucked into his work so much that he forgot that I was always there, photographing him every minute in time,” he said.
But Ghosh’s photography was not limited to just Ray though the world today know him as the photo-biographer of the legendary director. He had captured Utpal Dutt, Shombu Mitra, Tripti Mitra and Badal Sircar, among others. He has also documented the great artists like Jamini Roy, Ramkinker Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee
Among many other common things, Ray and Ghosh’s love for Kolkata also forged their relationship. And Ghosh’s book Kolkata which was released in 2014, brings out the true spirit of the City of Joy through the excellent black-and-white imagery.
Ghosh, who was born on 1934, also documented the making of films like Ritwik Ghatak’s Jukti Takko Gappo, Mrinal Sen’s Interview, Calcutta 71 and Ek Adhuri Kahani, Goutam Ghosh’s Paar and M S Sathyu’s Ijjodu.
On Wednesday, when he breathed his last, celebrities and film enthusiasts from around the world condoled his death. National Award-winning Bengali filmmaker Pradipta Bhattacharyya took to social media to remember the genius. The Rajlokkhi O Srikanta director had attended Ghosh’s class at Roopkala Kendro Film Institute.
Bhooter Bhabishyat director Anik Dutta is a proud owner of a photograph of Ray by Ghosh. And that’s not all. It was Ghosh who got it printed according to the specifications and presented to the filmmaker.
Words cannot describe the genius & legacy of Nemai Ghosh – an icon we will forever look up to. Many thanks to your contribution to Indian cinema. My condolences to his family members & loved ones. Thoughts & prayers.
— Paoli (@paoli_d) March 25, 2020
Sad to hear the passing of the great photographer Nemai Ghosh who kept Satyajit Ray alive through his beautiful photographs…I have wonderful memories of time spent with him. RIP Nemai Ghosh pic.twitter.com/N3zXnFitN1
— Shivendra Singh Dungarpur (@shividungarpur) March 25, 2020
Rest in Peace Nemai-da #(NemaiGhosh). Such an icon. A genuine great loss.
— Arindam Sil (@silarindam) March 25, 2020
nemai da left us today. end of an era.
but hopefully, the satyajit ray nemai ghosh combo will start again up there.
— sujoy ghosh (@sujoy_g) March 25, 2020
— Aseem Chhabra (@chhabs) March 25, 2020
Nemai Ghosh, Mevrick of Photography has passed away today. Our sincerest condolences. pic.twitter.com/Mp9gfsSSdo
— Surjya Kanta Mishra (@mishra_surjya) March 25, 2020