First, it’s finding a story that excites you. Second, it’s converting the story into the terms of a screenplay. Third, it’s casting, which I do myself. People just come to my house. There’s a knock on the door, and there’s somebody waiting outside with acting ambitions. I usually keep a photograph, name, address, and vital statistics. Eventually, I may send for the person. This has happened many times. Then, of course, there are costume design and the set. I’ll sit down with my art director to decide on the props. For this particular film, The Chess Players, all the props were period ones. All the shawls, the lovely ornamental things the characters wear, some of them have come from museums. But most of the have come from private collections in Calcutta. Then the shooting itself is exciting, despite all the difficulties. Next come the rushes. Most exciting of all is sitting at the Movieola and cutting, which is when the thing comes to life. I do my own music, also. That, too, is exciting.—Satyajit Ray
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