Let us remember today the fiction writer, illustrator, publisher, music composer, graphic designer, calligrapher, film critic and the legendary filmmaker of 20th century who made the world recognise the Indian Cinema with his classic movie – Pather Panchali (1955), yesssss Satyajit Ray (2 May 1921 – 23 April 1992). He was born in a Bengali family of Calcutta where art and literature ruled. He started his career as a commercial artist by later inclined to independent filmmaking when, he met French filmmaker Jean Renoir.
In his whole life he directed 36 films, authored numerous short stories and novels and was honoured with many national as well as international awards. Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali won eleven international prizes. His films received 36 National Film Awards beside many awards at international film festivals and an Academy Honorary Award. He was honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1992 by the Government of India.
On his death anniversary let us pay a tribute to him by recalling some of his noticeable films and some interesting facts about these.
Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) – 1955
The budget of the Pather Panchali was so inadequate that Satyajit Ray had to sell his life insurance policy and even some LPs to collect funds. He also persuaded his wife Bijoya to deposit her jewellery.”
Aparajito (The Unvanquished) – 1956
In this second movie of Apu Trilogy, much of Apu’s story has been taken from Satyajit Ray’s own experience.”
Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) – 1959
The movie marked the debut of two new actors – Soumita Chatterjee who played the role of grown up Apu and Sharmila Tagore (just 14 at that time) who played Apu’s bride Aparna.”
Charulata (The Lonely Wife) – 1964
Charulata was the first film which Ray decided to work as camera operator and once told that, “I realized that, working with new actors, they are more confident if they don’t see me. I remain behind the camera and I see better and get the exact frame.”
Devi (The Goddess) – 1960
When the movie was first released in India, it aroused a storm of protest about the film’s alleged anti-Hindu prejudice. This even led some parliamentarians to debate that the film should not be given an export license.”
Mahanagar (The Big City) – 1963
The confined and gloomy atmosphere of the joint family in the movie was created with the sets for the house having very small rooms with fixed walls. Ray once told, “In those days I don’t think anyone built four-walled rooms. It gave us very little room to move about, so there are no long shots at all.”
Abhijan (The Expedition) – 1962
The movie was Satyajit’s biggest box-office success in his native place Bengal.”
Nayak (The Hero) – 1966
The film takes place in a period of twenty-four hours on a train during which hero’s life is revealed with a series of flashbacks and dreams. The title role of the hero was played by Uttam Kumar”.
Agantuk (The Stranger) – 1992
This was the last film by Satyajit Ray and based on a short story which he wrote several years before the making of the film”.
Asani Sanket (Distant Thunder) – 1973
The film is based on the novel ‘Asani Sanket’ by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee who also wrote ‘Pather Panchali’ and ‘Aparajita’.