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Photographer Nemai Ghosh, chronicler of Satyajit Ray's life and works, dies at 86

Nemai Ghosh was introduced to Ray by the actor Rabi Ghosh on the sets of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969) and went on to document the filmmaker's life and works in pictures until his death in 1992.

Roushni Sarkar

Photographer Nemai Ghosh, best known for his still photographs archiving Satyajit Ray’s life and works, died of a heart attack at about 10:10 am today (Wednesday).

Ghosh, an internationally acclaimed photographer, was suffering from age-related ailments for a long time. He was 86. According to a report on The Indian Express newspaper's website, his younger brother Chitta Ghosh confirmed the news.

Nemai Ghosh started working with Satyajit Ray in 1969 when actor Rabi Ghosh introduced him to the legendary filmmaker on the sets of Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969). According to a report on the Indian Cultural Forum, “He did not bother to get his collection recorded with the Guinness Book of Records but, perhaps across the world, he is the only photographer who has in his collection more than one lakh photograph negatives of Satyajit Ray clicked between 1969 and the time Ray passed away [in 1992].”

The last rites of the artiste were to be performed at around 12:30 pm today at the Keoratala Mahashashan. As a nationwide lockdown has been imposed since midnight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus disease), not more than 20 people were allowed to join the rituals and pay tribute to Ghosh.

Nemai Ghosh is survived by a son and a daughter. His son had gone to Mumbai for work and was unable to return owing to the travel ban throughout the country. Hence, the last rites were performed by other family members in Kolkata.

Artistes from various fields mourned Nemai Ghosh's death. They were especially distraught because they could not see him one last time. Actress Sudipta Chakraborty, who was acquainted with Ghosh through her father Biplab Ketan Chakraborty, posted on Facebook: 'It is so unfortunate that Nemai Uncle now rests in peace and we are not allowed to go to his house. His son is not even allowed to reach Kolkata. We are so helpless now, indeed so helpless' [Translated portion of an original post in Bengali].