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Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne
(The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha)
1968, India. 132 min, B/W & color, In Bengali with subtitles.
Credits
Producer: Purnima Pictures (Nepal Dutta, Asim Dutta)
Screenplay & Direction: Satyajit Ray, from the story - 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne' by Upendrakishore Ray (Roychowdhury)
Cinematography: Shoumendu Roy
Editing: Dulal Dutta
Art Direction: Bansi Chandragupta
Sound: Nripen Paul, Atul Chatterjee, Sujit Sarkar
Music: Satyajit Ray
Dance Director: Sambhunath Bhattacharya
Goopy Songs sung by:
Anup Kumar Ghoshal
 
Cast  
Character: Performer
Goopy: Tapen Chatterjee
Bagha: Rabi Ghosh
King of Shundi/ King of Halla: Santosh Dutta
Barfi, the Magician: Harindranath Chatterjee
Prime Minister of Halla: Jahar Roy
Commander-in-Chief of Halla: Santi Chatterjee
Spy from Halla: Chinmoy Roy
King of Amloki: Durgadas Banerjee
Goopy's father: Govinda Chakravarty
King of Ghosts: Prasad Mukherjee
Village Elders: Haridhan Mukherjee, Abani Chatterjee, Khagen Pathak, Binoy Bose, Prasad Mukherjee
Singers at the court of Shundi: Joykrishna Sanyal, Tarun Mitra, Ratan Banerjee, Kartik Chatterjee
Executioner: Gopal Dey
   
Summary
Goopy, a young farmer’s son with a passion to sing and marked absence of talent, is banished by the king from the kingdom, as Goopy has the audacity to disturb the king in his slumber with dreadful singing. Crestfallen Goopy arrives in a forest riding a donkey. He meets Bagha, a drummer from a neighbouring kingdom, who too has been banished by his king for his terrible drumming.

Goopy and Bagha soon are good friends and start their terrible music. They encounter a bizarre dance of the forest ghost. They manage to please the king of the ghosts, who grants them three boons – instant food and clothing, instant travel and musical talent that can spellbind audiences. The key to all the magic is in two pair of slippers.

Wearing the magic slippers, they arrive in the kingdom of Shundi. At a music contest held by the good king of Shundi, they enchant the audiences and win the contest and are given positions as court musicians.

Meanwhile, the bad king of Halla, twin brother of the king of Shundi, wants to declare a war. The king of Halla is not really a bad king but is drugged and being controlled by the court magician Barfi. He works for the greedy and ambitious Prime Minister. With their magic powers, Goopy and Bagha avert the war. The twin brothers, kings of Shundi and Halla are reconciled and they offer to reward Goopy and Bagha with their daughters in marriage.
Comments
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is a delightful, fun film for children of all ages. The film ran to packed houses in Bengal for a record fifty-one weeks and was by far the most commercially successful Ray film. Tapen Chatterjee, then a newcomer, admirably plays the role of Goopy and Rabi Ghosh, an experienced performer, plays Bagha in this musical fantasy inhabited by ghosts, kings, crafty ministers, soldiers, magicians, generals, courtiers, princesses, horses and tigers.

About six months after its release in Bengal, ray wrote to Marie Seton, “It is extraordinary how quickly it has become part of popular culture. Really there isn’t a single child in the city who doesn’t know and sing the songs (from the film).” The film was not well received abroad though. Andrew Robinson, Ray’s biographer attributes this to its legends, dialogues, wit and lyrics that cannot be translated effectively.

The film derives its inspiration from Ray’s grandfather - Upendrakisore Ray’s story - 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne'. Ray meticulously designed its characters and composed the music.

The special effects are definitely not like that of Hollywood films of the era. Its 6 1/2 minute ghost dance is a sequence to watch out for. The imaginative vitality of the visualization and execution make the sequence a visual and aural treat. Ray combined live action, shadow puppets and Indian percussion instruments –Ghatam, Mridamgam, Mursring and Ganjra to create the mesmerizing sequence.
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
Other Online Reviews

Goopy and Bagha enjoy their own music in field ©Nemai Ghosh


Goopy and Bagha perfom for the King of Shundi ©Nemai Ghosh

Goopy and Bagha with the King of Shundi ©Nemai Ghosh

Ghost dance, a sketch by Ray ©Ray Family

Bagha, Prime Minister of Halla and Goopy ©Nemai Ghosh

The king and Prime Minister of Halla ©Nemai Ghosh

Bagha and Goopy ©Nemai Ghosh

Barfi the magician, a sketch by Ray ©Ray Family


Film Poster by Ray ©Ray Family
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