Satyajit Ray at work. Photograph:( DNA )
A filmmaker who used to consider life as the biggest inspiration for his films, it is Satyajit Ray’s 97th birth anniversary today.
Born in Calcutta, Ray had interest in films and what went behind making them since he was a child. He went on to direct 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts.
Ray was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, music composer, graphic designer and film critic. He authored several short stories and novels, meant primarily for young children and teenagers.
On his birth anniversary today, we take a look at some of his best works:
Charulata (The Lonely Wife) (1964)
The film, more popularly known as "The Lonely Wife" embodies the transition that Bengal went through towards the later part of the nineteenth century.
The Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito & Apur Sansar) (Song of the Little Road, The Unvanquished & The World of Apu) (1955, 1956 & 1959)
While “Pather Panchali” is the most well-known work in the trilogy, it is important to see the whole trilogy to understand the filmmaker’s vision. Universally applauded, “The Apu Trilogy” established Ray as the most potent force of Indian cinema.
Jalsaghar (The Music Room) (1958)
The film depicts the gradual decline of the feudal system in Bengal. Nuanced, layered and thematically rich; the movie chronicles the story of a Zamindar (landlord) who loves to dwell in the past and pass his time idly listening to Indian classical music.
Devi (The Goddess) (1960)
Adapted from a short story by renowned Bengali author Provatkumar Mukhopadhyay, “Devi” is a profound piece of work that explores the preeminence of superstition in 19th-century Bengal through a magnifying lens.
Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) (1970)
A film that explores the themes of fidelity, narcissism, love and loss through a lot of other elements, the film is disturbing as it is moving.
Ray received many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, 2 Silver Bears, a number of additional awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. The Government of India awarded him the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, in 1992.