Dept of History, Classics and Archaeology | News | Professor Chandak Sengoopta Awarded Leverhulme Grant Case Study
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Professor Chandak Sengoopta Awarded Leverhulme Grant Case Study

Professor Chandak Sengoopta’s research into acclaimed Indian filmmaker, writer and designer Satyajit Ray is being supported by the recent award of a three-year Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust.

Professor Chandak Sengoopta Awarded Leverhulme Grant Case Study

Professor Chandak Sengoopta’s research into acclaimed Indian filmmaker, writer and designer Satyajit Ray is being supported by the recent award of a three-year Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded a three-year Major Research Fellowship  to Chandak Sengoopta, Professor of History in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, to enable him to write a comprehensive biography of Satyajit Ray (1921-1992),  one of the most remarkable creative artists of modern India.

An Oscar-winning filmmaker,  Ray’s films came to represent Indian reality for generations of viewers worldwide. Later in life he embarked on a hugely successful career as a magazine editor, illustrator and author of popular fiction, while the songs he composed for his films decades ago are still sung by millions.

Using rarely-accessible manuscripts and archival material made available by Ray’s son Sandip, Professor Sengoopta aims to place Ray as one of modern Asia’s most distinctive and complex cultural figures.

“While much has been written about Ray’s films over the years there is no critical study of all his major creative endeavours,” says Chandak. “I plan to give prominence to the many incarnations of Satyajit Ray that have been forgotten or underrated by the West.

“Ray once said that his work could be fully understood only by someone ‘who has his feet in both cultures’ – I was born and raised in Ray’s hometown of Calcutta and Bengali is my mother tongue. I am also a historian trained in the USA and have worked in Britain for almost two decades.  By possessing the cultural knowledge to plumb the Bengali and Indian depths of Ray’s work as well as the expertise to address its broader aesthetic and historical dimensions, my study of this iconic but ill-understood artist will offer the first truly comprehensive analysis of his work and the diverse reputations that Ray came to acquire in Bengal, India and the West.”

The Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences enable distinguished researchers to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance, capable of completion within two or three years.

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