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The real story behind the world’s most popular alien movie3 min read

May 16, 2021 3 min read


The real story behind the world’s most popular alien movie3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Suchithra Pillai

May 2021 marks the 100th birth anniversary of legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Though centenary celebrations are stalled amidst the pandemic, filmmakers across the globe have paid their respects to one of the world’s finest directors and one who still remains India’s only filmmaker to have received the renowned Academy Awards.

Ray directed 36 films including feature films, documentaries and shorts that earned him international acclaim. In his lifetime, he was bestowed with many accolades – 32 national awards that includes National Award for the Best Director six times, which is the most by any filmmaker so far. 

However, there is an inconspicuous mystery that surrounds his illustrious career, including deceit and an honorary academy announcement. Though Ray had laid his footprint in Hollywood in the 1960s and even grabbed an opportunity to film with Columbia Pictures, he was unfortunately deceived and later got disillusioned with the project.

In the 1980s, Steven Spielberg’s came up with the much acclaimed Hollywood movie E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. But the movie faced plagiarism charges for having replicated an Indian Filmmaker’s script and this was none other than Satyajit Ray. 

Unknown to many, Ray had penned down the first ever script on aliens in 1967 named ‘The Alien’. The screenplay was based on his Bengali science fiction story, Bankubabur Bandhu, published in Ray’s family magazine, Sandesh. He had envisioned a movie on aliens, discussed its pursuance with Hollywood producers and even laid the foundation for a US-India co-production with renowned actor Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando as leads.

The striking similarity between Hollywood movie E.T and Ray’s alien became the talk of the town. It is believed that this was one of the main reasons for E.T.’s underperformance at Oscars as it scored only for the technical awards. Rumours also claim that it is the guilt that made Spielberg recommend Ray’s name for Academy Awards.

Tell-A-Story unveils this obscure mystery through this video story detailing the facts that uncovers the resemblance between E.T and Ray’s Alien. It unearths the story behind Ray’s journey to Hollywood, the talks he had and the bare truth that he revealed in his own words. A remarkable writer cum director, an exceptional illustrator,storyteller and music composer, Satyajit Ray’s astounding creations continue to marvel filmmakers across the globe and no wonder he is still commemorated as one of the World’s greatest filmmakers. 

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About Tell-A-Story: A video storytelling venture founded by Suchithra Pillai, who comes with over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the United States. It presents video narratives along with thought-provoking content in less than 5 minutes, to engage and entertain the audience, is its preeminent vision. For more such intriguing stories, subscribe to the channel. You can also follow the stories on Facebook @tellastory2020 and Instagram @tell_a_story2020