Recollecting the man behind India’s Parallel Cinema development on his 99th birth commemoration

Satyajit Ray, propelled from French Filmmaker Jean Renoir and subsequent to watching Bicycle Thieves, began another stage throughout the entire existence of Indian Cinema.

By Rajrita Chattopadhyay               

Satyajit Ray born on 2nd May 1921, into a Bengali family which was prominent in the field of arts and literature, was an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter, music composer, graphic artist, lyricist and author widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all the time.

His father Sukumar Ray, who was a Bengali Poet, story writer and playwright, passed away when Ray was barely 3 years old. Ray learned at Ballygunge Government High School, Calcutta (presently Kolkata) and finished his BA in economics at Presidency College, Calcutta. In the year 1940, his mother demanded that he learn at Visva-Bharti University in Shantiniketan, established by Rabindranath Tagore. In Shantiniketan he came to acknowledge Oriental Art. He later conceded that he gained such a great amount from the renowned painters Nandalal Bose and Benode Behari Mukherjee, who was visually impaired. That he later created a narrative on Mukherjee: ‘The Inner Eye.’

In 1943, he began to work at D.J Keymer, a British-run advertising organization, as a ‘junior visualizer’ winning eighty rupees per month. In 1949, Ray married his Bijoya Das, his first cousin and long – time dear. The couple had a kid, Sandip Ray, who is presently a filmmaker. Around a similar time, French director Jean Renoir came to Calcutta to shoot his film The River. Ray helped him to find regions in the open country. Ray informed Renoir regarding his concept of filming Pather Panchali, which had for quite a while in cutting edge of his considerations, and Renoir stimulated him in incorporating it. In 1950, D.J Keymer sent Ray to London to work at its central station office. During his large portion of a year in London. He watched 99 movies and among these was the neorealist films like Bicycle Thieves which profoundly affected him. He later said that, he came out of the theatre resolved to be a producer.

His first film. Pather Panchali (1955), won eleven global prizes, including the debut Best Human Document grant at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. He got many significant honours in his profession, including 32 National Indian Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, 2 Silver Bears and some of extra honours at worldwide film celebrations and grant services. Ray got numerous noticeable honours and gained a renowned position over his life time.

For films like Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) (1959) structure The Apu Triology, Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing and planned his own credit titles and publicity material. He facilitated 36 motion pictures, including feature movies, stories and shorts. He was in likewise a fiction creator, publisher, artist, calligrapher, music arranger, visual originator and film savant. He composed a couple of short stories and books which in a general sense inferred for little children and young people. Feluda, the sleuth, and Professor Shonku, the scientist in his recounted stories are notable episodic characters made by him.

Some interesting facts about him that are not known to many. Here they are:

  1. With six National Awards, Ray became the only director to win so many awards for Best Director so far. He has won 32 National Awards in total by the Government of India.
  2. In 1985, he was awarded with Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
  3. He was awarded the Legion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) by the President of France in 1987.
  4. He was awarded the honorary Doctorate by Oxford University, the second film personality to receive the honour after Charlie Chaplin. 
  5. Even the Academy Awards board couldn’t stop themselves from noticing the work of Ray, and awarded him an honorary Oscar in 1991. With this, Ray became the first Indian to receive an honorary Oscar. He received this award for Lifetime Achievement.
  6. In 1965, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan.
  7. He was conferred with the highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna by the Government of India just a few days before his demise.
  8. In 1992, he was posthumously awarded the Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which was accepted by Sharmila Tagore on his behalf.

So winning an award was nothing new for him. He was nationally and internationally recognized for his work and his major contribution to the history of Bengali and Indian Cinema.

9.His first film, Pather Panchali which was released in 1955, won him eleven international prizes, including the Best Human Document award at Cannes Film Festival in 1956.So, his first film was acclaimed internationally.

With this this film, began a film movement in India, and in the Indian Cinema was the movement of Parallel cinema, which originated as an alternative to the mainstream commercial Indian Cinema.

10. He was popular called ‘Manik Da’ as a sign of respect.

11.He revived the Bengali magazine, Sandesh, started by his grandfather and he was the editor of the same.



      

12.He has four Roman typefaces patented under his name viz. Ray Roman, Ray Bizarre, Daphins and Holiday Script. The first tow winning an International Competition in 1971.

13. He made the first coloured film in Bengali, Kanchenjunga (1962) which is also considered the first Indian anthology film.


14. His only feature film in Hindi is Shatranj Ke Khiladi, directed in 1977.

His notable works includes:

And many more such beautiful works.

Satyajit Ray (2nd May 1921- 23rd April 1992)

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