Masters of Cinema : Satyajit Ray

                                                    Satyajit Ray is perhaps the most well known Indian filmmaker to the Western World and inarguably among the dozen or so great masters of world cinema. He made his films in Bengali, and yet, his films are of universal interest. They are about things that make up the human race - relationships, emotions, struggle, conflicts, joys and sorrows. His films demonstrate a remarkable humanism, elaborate observation and subtle handling of characters and situations. 

                                                                     Satyajit Ray, was born in Kolkata (Calcutta) on 2nd of May 1921. He initially studied at Calcutta University and later shifted to Shantiniketan to study art. He founded Calcutta's first film society in 1947.

  •  He made his first film ‘Pather Panchali’in the year 1955 soon followed by ‘Aparajito’ and ‘Apur Sansar’ together known as 'Apu Trilogy'. 
  • ‘Pather Panchali’ was an immediate success and for this he won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival.
  • Not only did Ray direct twenty-nine feature films, but he also wrote the scripts, composed much of the music, and participated directly in the art direction, casting, and cinematography.
  • Was voted the 25th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • Ray wrote several science-fiction short stories.
  • In 1967 he wrote a script for a movie entitled "The Alien". Ray Co-written the script, was surprised to find out it had already been copyrighted and the fee appropriated. Columbia Pictures was interested in doing the project in the 1970s. 
                                          When E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was released in 1982, many saw  striking similarities in the film to Ray's earlier script. Ray himself believed that Steven Spielberg's movie "would not have been possible without my script of 'The Alien' being available throughout America in copies." Spielberg denied this.
  •  Was a fan of the Tintin comics and even had some shots of some of the books in his movies.
  • Ray was a talented graphic artist, and designed numerous book jackets and magazine covers.
  • Ray was awarded Legion of Honor, the most prestigious award in france. The French president  personally went to Ray's doorstep in Calcutta to present him with the honor.
  •  Satyajit Ray could complete his first movie 'Pather Panchali' because The Chief Minister of Bengal financed him. After watching the movie CM suggested Satyajit Ray that he should change the sad ending of the movie. Thankfully Satyajit Ray did not take him seriously.
  •  Before the first scene of his first movie, Ray had never directed anything, as a cinematographer had never shot a film, and child actors were never screen tested.
  •  Ray won a special lifetime achievement award at the 1992 Oscars, some weeks before his death. He's  was the second Indian to have won an Oscar.
  • Ray received many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a number of awards at international film festivals.
  • Great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and Ray were friends. Kurosawa said of Ray's work, "To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun.".
                                            More than any other Indian director, Satyajit Ray reaches into the heart of his native country and gently pours out unsurpassed visual poems that convey India’s transition from traditional ways into twentieth century life. 
Here is the interview, Satyajit Ray gave to a magazine:
Satyajit Honorary Oscar(1992):


Kumaran said...

great post.thanks.

Arnie said...

Thanks for posting about the master! He is my favorite filmmaker of all times!Being a bengali myself, I have watched all his classics.Infact you don't need to be a bengali to understand his language, its universal!

sriramnivas said...

This man with a mission had immense love for arts and had proved his mettle in the world of Cinema through his fantabulous creations. Great post and thoughtful indeed!!!


Arun Kumar said...

Thanks for ur comments Kumaran, Arnab, and Ramnivas.