The second episode of the anthology series based on the works of legendary Indian writer and filmmaker Satyajit Ray follows the meek makeup artist Indrashish. Stuck in a permanent rut, for which he seems to have a perpetual quarrel with God, his life takes a dramatic turn when his grandma leaves him a rather lavish inheritance. How he chooses to use the inheritance makes up the dark and cerebral episode that is based on Ray’s short story ‘Bahurupi.’ Let’s take a closer look at ‘Ray’ episode 2. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Ray: Behrupia Recap
Episode 2 opens with the meek makeup artist Indrashish putting makeup on his colleague and flame Debashree. He shyly pulls out a ring and offers it to the aspiring actress, who he has long held a soft spot for. She, however, quickly brushes the ring aside and says that she needs to focus on her acting career. A frustrated Indrashish, left alone, then berates himself for messing things up. He then looks up and admonishes the gods, asking them why they perpetually try to make his life miserable. He is equally despondent at his place of work, where he is constantly belittled by his superior.
Soon after, our low-spirited protagonist receives news that his recently deceased grandmother left him a significant amount of money and her entire store of knowledge in the form of a tomb-like book. We then find out that his grandmother, who Indrashish was especially attached to, was an accomplished make-up and prosthetics artist. Indrashish is immediately inspired to begin using the vast collection of make-up equipment left to him by his grandmother and proceeds to craft different personalities for himself.
Over the next few days, our meek protagonist becomes increasingly confident with his disguises and proceeds to fool his landlord and colleagues. He then gets more ambitious and uses his skills to disguise himself as a colleague to get the latter into trouble. He then spots a holy man and, emboldened, sits down in front of him and asks for his blessing. The holy man instead hands him a blank piece of paper, saying that he cannot “read” his face. Indrashish tells him a false name, but the holy man insists that he is unreadable. Frustrated, the disguised protagonist walks away.
Ray: Behrupia Ending: What Happens to Indrashish?
Indrashish then gets obsessed with creating a new disguise and notices posters on the news of an escaped rapist named Rakesh Singh. Realizing that they resemble each other, the makeup artist crafts an intricate facial disguise identical to the escaped convict and goes back to the holy man. This time around, the holy man recognizes Indrashish and shocks him by mentioning his deceased grandmother and their closeness, something that not many people know about the protagonist.
The holy man goes on to say that Indrashish is a good person and gives him a chance to reveal his true name. When Indrashish confidently insists that his name is Rakesh Singh, the holy man smiles and says that his wish is granted. To his horror, people start to recognize the disguised Indrashish as the escaped rapist. To make things worse, he finds that the makeup responsible for the confusion refuses to come off. In his panic, he locks himself inside a barbershop. After unsuccessful attempts to pry the makeup off, we finally see the desperate Indrashish put a pin through his eye in an attempt to remove the contact lens he’s wearing as part of the disguise.
So it looks like the holy man, to teach our polymorphic hero his lesson, has permanently fixed the makeup to his face, making him into an almost identical copy of a wanted man. We see Indrashish draw blood in an attempt to wipe the makeup off, showing us that the prosthetic face has well and truly become a part of his body.
There are definite supernatural undertones to this episode, with the holy man’s words coming ironically true when he says that Indrashish’s wish of changing his appearance has been granted. What the holy man essentially tries to convey to our misguided leading man is that he is a good person deep inside and that he doesn’t need to change his appearance to run from his troubles. Despite the three clear chances that the holy man gives him, Indrashish refuses to heed his words and continues to insist that his name is Rakesh Singh.
The holy man, therefore, seals the fate of the protagonist. Considering Indrashish’s main source of power and success is his ability to assume and remove disguises at will, the curse that seems to have been put on him essentially seals his facial features so that he cannot change them back to the original. It is all the more ironic that the unlucky makeup artist chooses to disguise himself as a wanted criminal and is stuck with his likeness. Sadly, with an angry mob close on his heels, the panicking Indrashish most likely kills, or at the very least seriously injures, himself in his attempts to remove his new face. Since no one is going to believe his incredulous story, even if Indrashish survives, he will probably spend his life on the run or in prison.
Why Does Indrashish Go Back to the Holy Man?
The first time the protagonist sits down in front of the holy man, the latter is unable to “read” him and hands him a blank piece of paper instead, essentially conveying to Indrashish that he knows about the disguise. This explains Indrashish’s growing frustration at the blank piece of paper, as the holy man essentially calls him a blank canvas who is hiding his true self. For Indrashish, however, this is a direct challenge to his skills as a makeup artist since the holy man is able to instantly see through his disguise.
This is why he carefully (and misguidedly) chooses to disguise himself with the prominent face of a wanted man and obsesses over every tiny detail of his get-up. Indrashish basically wants to prove that his disguise is good enough to fool even a holy man, which explains his smug expression when the holy man concedes defeat and says that Indrashish must be Rakesh Singh after all. After his first failed attempt, the makeup artist goes back to the holy man to once again try and fool him with his disguise. Unfortunately for him, his plan backfires, and Indrashish is left with his impeccable disguise magically attached to his face.