July 21, 2003
History professor lauded for work to preserve
By Scott Rappaport
The Cultural Association of Bengal has honored UC Santa Cruz associate
professor of history Dilip K. Basu with a Distinguished Service Award
for his efforts to preserve classic Bengali films.
|Dilip K. Basu has helped orchestrate
Satyajit Ray retrospectives in Europe and North America.
The award was presented at the North American Bengali Conference held
at the Long Beach Convention Center in Los Angeles.
Basu has worked during the past decade to establish a world-class archives
and study center on renowned Indian film director Satyajit Ray at UCSC.
He also contributed to the international effort that led to Rays
Lifetime Achievement Oscar award in 1992.
Basu personally brought the Oscar to Ray in his Calcutta hospital room
and filmed his acceptance speech, which was later broadcast at the Academy
Awards ceremony. At a banquet after the event, Audrey Hepburn asked
him to help restore Rays films. Utilizing an initial grant from
the Academy, Basu helped establish the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection
at UCSC and the Ray Society in Calcutta.
Basu organized the restoration and preservation of Rays films
at the Academy of Motion Picture Archives in Los Angeles. Thirteen of
Rays 36 films have now been restored at a cost of $1.7 million.
Basu also obtained commitments from the Academy, the Packard Humanities
Institute, and Martin Scorseses Film Foundation to help pay the
restoration costs of the rest of Rays films, at an estimated cost
of several million dollars.
Basu has additionally helped orchestrate a number of Ray retrospectives
in Europe and North America during the past two years, at venues such
as the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art (inaugurated by Martin
Scorsese) in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(inaugurated by Sharmila Tagore), the British Film Institute (inaugurated
by Ravi Shankar) in London, and at the Cinematheque in Toronto (inaugurated
by Norman Jewison).
Beginning September 22, all 36 of Rays films will be shown for
a three-month period at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto, California.
Complete retrospectives are also planned next year at the Berlin International
Film Festival, the Priya and Globe Cinemas in Calcutta, and at the Harvard
Film Archive in Boston.
With support from Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwoodwho has traveled
to India twice with him during the past three yearsBasu helped
establish the South Asian Studies Initiative at UCSC in 1999. The initial
focus has been on arts and music with the creation of an endowment in
classical North Indian music named after UCSC distinguished adjunct
professor and master musician Ali Akbar Khan. To date, donors have pledged
more than $2 million for the arts, and the university has made appointments
in teaching Hindi and South Asian art history, womens studies,
The UC Santa Cruz Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection now contains
31 of Rays 36 films in 35 mm, as well as a collection of 7,000
items about Ray. It has received more than $600,000 in grants from the
Ford Foundation, the Academy, the Packard Humanities Institut,e and
numerous individual donors.
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