19 July 2010
EAP at the Pictures: Goopy and Bagha
As I catalogue the cinema booklets, I have come across two popular characters created by the great Bengali writer Upendrakishore Ray: Goopy Gyne and Bagha Byne. The pair first appear in the book gupi gain o bagha bain (part of the Jadavpur University School of Cultural Texts and Records Main Collection, Reference EAP127/1/1/45 if you would like to view it), and later in a film of the same name adapted from Ray's story by his grandson, Satyajit Ray.
Goopy and Bagha are both aspiring musicians but, unfortunately, neither of them have any musical talent. Their singing and drumming are so terrible they are both banished, and they meet in a forest. Miserable and afraid, they start performing in an effort to stave off their growing fear of the encircling gloom. The noise attracts the attention of a group of ghosts who are fasinated by their playing. The chief of the ghosts grants them three powers: they can clap their hands to conjure up food and drink; they are given a pair of magic slippers which can transport them wherever they wish; and their music now causes such awe in listeners that it immobilises them!
Goopy and Bagha put these powers to good use through three popular and award-winning films: goopy gyne o bagha byne, hirak rajar deshe and goopy bagha phire elo. The images in this post come from booklets produced to promote the films.