Two: A Film Fable is a 1964 black-and-white short film directed by the Indian director Satyajit Ray. The film was made under the banner of Esso World Theater at the request of a non-profit American public broadcasting television, PBS. It was made as part of a trilogy of short films from India. The other two films in the trilogy featured Indian Sitar player, Pandit Ravi Shankar and a Ballet troupe from Mumbai, then known as "Bombay". Ray, who worked prominently for Bengali cinema, was requested to make a film in English language with a Bengali setting, however Ray being an admirer of silent film decided to make a film without any dialogue as a tribute to the genre.
The short film shows an encounter between a child of a rich family and a street child, through the rich kid's window. The film is made without any dialogue and displays attempts of One-upmanship between kids in their successive display of their toys. The film portrays the child-rivalry with the help of world of noise and that of music. The film is among less known films of Ray but experts rated the film as one of Ray's best. It is often regarded as a prelude to another Ray film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969). Made during the Vietnam War, experts believe that the film makes "a strong anti-war statement" as it ends with street kid's flute sound overpowering sound of expensive toys.
Academy Film Archive, part of the Academy Foundation, took an initiative to restore Satyajit Ray's films and could successfully restore 19 Ray films. Two was preserved in 2006. The film's original script was included in a book named Original English Film Scripts Satyajit Ray, put together by Ray's son Sandip Ray.
The film begins with a rich kid (Ravi Kiran) shown to be playing with his toys and enjoying the bottled soft drink. While playing, he overhears a sound and curiously overlooks the window to see a slum kid playing a flute. In order to show his toys, rich kid takes out his toy trumpet to make loud sound. Street kid then goes back to his hut and starts playing a small drum to which rich kid shows his battery-powered drum. When street kid comes out home-made mask and bow and arrow, rich kid wears various masks including one of a native villager and cowboy. Disappointed street kid returns to his hut and rich kid also goes back to play with his toys.
While playing, rich kid notices a kite flying in the sky, through the window. Curious to know who is flying the kite, rich kid readily runs to the window to see slum kid holding kite string, Manja. Furious to see street kid happily flying the kite higher, rich kid gets his slingshot to attack the kite. Unable to do so, he then gets his toy-rifle and successfully shoots down the kite. Street kid then returns to his hut with a torn kite and gives up on becoming a friend with rich kid.
Rich kid then comes back to his toys and starts playing all of them, with each making its own sound. The film ends when rich kid could still hear the flute sound through the window in spite of loud noise of his toys and ponders over his deeds.Ravi Kiran as rich kid
Un-credited street kid
Editor: Dulal Dutta
Art direction: Bansi Chandragupta
Sound designer: Sujit Sarkar
Cinematographer: Soumendu Roy
Music direction: Satyajit Ray
After Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Satyajit Ray an honorary Academy Award in 1992 for Lifetime Achievement, Academy Film Archive, part of the Academy Foundation, which mainly works with objectives as "preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition and study of motion pictures" took an initiative to restore and preserve Ray's films. Josef Lindner was appointed as a preservation officer and Academy could successfully restore 19 Ray titles so far.The Academy has restored the movie 'Two' in 2016 and has uploaded the movie in their Youtube Channel.
Satyajit Ray mentioned about Two and its timing in his biography Portrait of a Director: Satyajit Ray by Marie Seton that he considered that the film "packs quite a punch in its ten (actually 15) minutes". The film had its first public screening at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. On 19 January 2008, a week-long exhibition "Art of Ray: A Ray Society Exhibition" was inaugurated by then Governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi and showcased Two. At "Ray Festival 2009", Satyajit Ray Society screened Two along with other three Ray documentaries, namely Rabindranath Tagore, The Inner Eye and Sukumar Ray on 7 May 2009. The film's original script was included in a book named Original English Film Scripts Satyajit Ray, put together by Ray's son Sandip Ray along with an ex-CEO of Ray Society, Aditinath Sarkar, which also included original scripts of Ray's other films.