100 years of Satyajit Ray: How relevant is the maestro today?

Published:Nov 29, 202314:05

Grasp at work: Satyajit Ray throughout location capturing of one among his earlier movies. Picture Credit score: GN archive

Kolkata: ‘‘We all need to see the films of Satyajit Ray and re-see them, again and again. Taken all together, they’re one among our biggest treasures.’’

‘‘Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.’’

One is an American grasp and the maker of timeless Hollywood classics like ‘Taxi Driver’ or ‘Goodfellas,’ the opposite the Japanese auteur who's thought to be one of the crucial influential filmmakers of the twentieth century. The sense of respect and admiration for Ray, the person who was accountable for taking Indian cinema to the worldwide viewers, was one of many few components they'd have had in widespread.

It’s a pity that the Covid-19 pandemic, like so many different issues in our lives, have disadvantaged his household and Kolkata - his personal metropolis - from celebrating his one centesimal beginning anniversary on Sunday (Could 2). The truth that it’s additionally the day for counting of votes after a unstable, protracted meeting elections in West Bengal over March-April, means the alternatives for his retrospectives, value determinations in TV speak exhibits and what have you ever - should wait.

Ray, a real Renaissance Man of Bengal and who himself shunned any over-the-top idolatry, wouldn't have been presumably too bothered with the muted celebrations like commemorative problems with some severe magazines or re-runs of a few of his movies in Prime Time. What might have been of extra consequence to him is that how related has he remained as he turned 100 - 29 years after his passing away in 1992 ? It’s a query value pondering on this period of social media and on the spot gratification - which now sees frontline filmmakers of his personal Bengali movie trade retweet phrases of sycophancy about their movies.

Regardless of the area of interest that Ray had managed to carve for himself among the many worldwide viewers - and the spell that he had forged on the regional filmmakers who adopted him - the irony was he couldn't presumably exert a pan-Indian affect for his reluctance to make extra Hindi movies. In truth, he made just one function movie in Hindi, Shatranj ke Khiladi in 1977 and a brief TV movie Sadgati - the latter would have labored very effectively within the OTT format at the moment. It was not for lack of financiers, however his personal determination to draw back in working in a language that he was not snug with.

Satyajit Ray offers an acceptance speech from his hospital mattress after receiving the particular Oscar award for his contribution to cinema in 1992. He handed away a couple of days later. Picture Credit score: Gulf Information archive

There was a combined response to his craft - in addition to for the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak on the entire - from the mainstream Bollywood trade of his instances. There are some apocryphal tales which does the rounds like a remark by Nargis Dutt, mom of Sanjay Dutt, who stated Ray peddled Indian poverty overseas to win awards - whereas however of the spectrum - the ‘new wave’ which Hindi cinema witnessed from late Seventies to Eighties had strongly borne the Ray legacy.

‘‘Satyajit Ray was, of course, the most important Indian filmmaker. I don’t suppose there was one other of that high quality since,” stated Shyam Benegal on the opening of a Ray Retrospective in 2017 in Israel. “But Ray also occupies historically a very interesting position in Indian cinema because when you talk about Indian films, you always say this is something before Ray and this is something after Ray,” stated Benegal, the pioneer of arthouse Hindi cinema along with his memorable creations, Ankur, Nishant and Manthan - movies which gave beginning to one-in-a-generation performers like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi or the late Smita Patil.

Ray additionally occupies traditionally a really fascinating place in Indian cinema as a result of whenever you speak about Indian movies, you all the time say that is one thing earlier than Ray and that is one thing after Ray

- Shyam Benegal, legendary flimmaker

The impression that he left on his subsequent era of filmmakers in Bengal - from Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghose, actor-turned-director Aparna Sen (who made her debut as an adolescent in Teen Kanya, one among Ray’s early creations) to the late Rituparno Ghosh, Kaushik Ganguly or Srijit Mukherjee - is indelible. There are a selection of movies which have been straight take-offs on Rays’s masterpieces like Abar Aranye (Within the forests once more) by Ghosh on Ray’s Aranyer Dinratri, Mukherjee’s Autograph on Nayak (The Hero) or Arindam Sil’s Aborto (The Whirlpool) on Simabaddha (Firm Restricted).

‘‘It’s unlucky that his one centesimal yr and all that we deliberate to do round it, was washed away within the pandemic. However Satyajit Ray’s work is extra related at the moment than ever. His humanism is missed at the moment when our enemy is in our front room within the type of social media,’’ remarked Gautam Ghose, the maker of Naseeruddin Shah-Shabana Azmi starrer ‘Paar’, ‘Padma Nadir Majhi’ and 'Moner Manush.'

A connoisseur of music, Satyajit Ray composed music for all his movies barring the primary couple of them. Picture Credit score: Equipped photograph

Multi-tasking? Ray did it a lot earlier than the time period was coined

A movie director, author, illustrator, graphic designer and music composer, Ray was born on Could 2, 1921 into the illustrious Ray (earlier Raychaudhuri) household which was famend within the twentieth century Kolkata (then Calcutta) for his or her contributions to artwork, literature, music in addition to enterprise of printing expertise. Because the son of Sukumar Ray and Suprabha Ray, he inherited the inventive genes of his father and grandfather Upendrakishore. After graduating from the Presidency Faculty of Calcutta, he enrolled into the Visva Bharati College based by Rabindranath Tagore. Throughout his stint right here, Ray’s inventive colleges had been enriched by the publicity to completely different nuances of superb arts. His early life had been spent in Shantiniketan underneath the steerage of Tagore himself and it was right here that he got here in touch with the a number of stalwarts of his age.

Ray all the time maintained that his tutelage underneath Nandalal Bose and Benod Behari Mukherjee enriched his inventive colleges to an ideal extent. He began his profession as a junior visualiser on the British promoting company D.J. Keymer, and by his personal admission he held this career as a graphic artist very near his coronary heart.

It was in 1943 that he was invited by a senior colleague from D.J. Keymer to work with Signet Press. It was Ray who designed the covers of such books as Aam Aatir Bhepu (a youngsters’s version of Bibhuti Bhusan Banerjee’s Pather Panchali), Man-Eaters of Kumaon(Kumaomer Manuskheko Bagh, in Bengali translation) by Jim Corbett and ‘The Discovery of India’ by Jawahar Lal Nehru. It was round this time that Ray developed a ardour for filmmaking, when on having been despatched to London on an task he received a chance to see a number of worldwide movies of which Neo-realist Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Ladri di biciclette’ or ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948) had a profound impression on him. The affect of those movies, alongwith the story-telling of Hollywood, left a long-lasting impression on his model.

A shot from 'Pather Panchali,' Ray's pathbreaking debut movie in 1955. Picture Credit score: Equipped photograph

Filmmaking profession

Pather Panchali (Music of the Little Highway), Ray’s pathbreaking debut movie, revolutionised the thought of filmmaking in India with its launch in 1955. Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) made up this trilogy that acquired phenomenal crucial acclaim and was acquired globally because the trilogy that was set to redefine the very concept of filmmaking. Ray was praised for his cinematic brilliance and awards appear to pour in by the dozen.

Ray has spoken about his craft and philosophy in a number of books and essays, however a quote from one among his mid-life interviews could be related right here. “I had a western education, I studied English, and only over the last ten years, I have found myself more and more going back to the history of my country, my people, my past, my culture...”

Cinema-Ray & Brando
Satyajit Ray (left) exchanges plesantries with legendary actor Marlon Brando at an abroad movie pageant. Picture Credit score: Equipped photograph

Writing profession

A celebrated fiction author, Ray was one among precursors of detective and science fiction in Bengali literature. Creating the sharp sleuth, Feluda, Ray ensured that he gave youngsters an event to rejoice their childhood, their imaginative and fertile minds and on the similar time offered spine-chilling leisure via these Feluda thrillers. He additionally introduced onto the literary scene, the eccentric genius Shonku, who by advantage of his endearing eccentricity and eager scientific acumen, redefined the style of science fiction.

Ray revealed a number of works on movie criticism and was additionally instrumental in carrying ahead the legacy of his household’s well-known Bengali youngsters’s journal Sandesh. In 1983, Ray’s well being deteriorated as a result of coronary heart issues - a handicap which curbed his motion and restricted him to shoot solely indoor drama for almost final 9 years of his life.

He acquired an honorary Oscar in his demise mattress and shortly afterwards breathed his final on April 23, 1992.

'Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne,' the characters immortalised by Ray, re-interpreted by illustrator and animator Shilpa Ranade. Picture Credit score: Twitter

The Ray Filmography

Pather Panchali (Music of the Highway) 1955

Aparajito (The Unvanquished) 1956

Paras Pathar (The Thinker’s Stone) 1958

Jalshaghar (The Music Room) 1958

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) 1959

Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) 1961

Abhijan (The Expedition) 1962

Mahanagar (The Large Metropolis) 1963

Charulata (The Lonely Spouse) 1964

Kapurush-O-Mahapurush (The Coward and the Holy Man) 1965

Chiriakhana (The Zoo) 1967

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha) 1968

Aranyer Dinratri (Days and Nights within the Forest) 1969

Pratidwandi (The Adversary) 1970

Seemabaddha (The Firm Restricted) 1971

Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder) 1973

Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) 1974

Jana Aranya (The Center Man) 1975

Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Gamers) 1977

Pleasure Baba Felunath (The Elephant God) 1978

Hirak Rajar Deshe (The Kingdom of Diamonds) 1980

Ghare Baire (The House and the World) 1984

Ganashatru (An Enemy of the Individuals) 1987

Shakha Prasakha (Branches of a Tree) 1990

Agantuk (The Stranger) 1991


Quick movie

Sadgati (Deliverance) 1981

Main awards gained by Ray

1965: Padmabhushan, India

1967: Magsaysay Award, Philippines

1973: Physician of Letters, Delhi College

1974: D.Litt, Royal Faculty of Arts, London

1976: Padma Vibhushan, India

1978: D.Litt, Oxford College, Particular Award, Berlin Movie Competition; Deshikottam, Visva Bharati College, India

1979: Particular Award, Moscow Movie Competition

1980: D.Litt, Burdwan College; D.Litt, Jadavpur College

1981: Doctorate, Benaras Hindu College, India; D.Litt, North Bengal College, India

1982: Hommage a’ Satyajit Ray, Cannes Movie Competition; Viyasagar Award, Authorities of West Bengal

1983: Fellowship, British Movie Institute

1985: D.Litt, Calcutta College; Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India; Soviet Land Nehru Award, Soviet Union

1986: Fellowship, Sangeet Natak Academy, India

1987: Legion d’ Honneur, France; D.Litt, Rabindra Bharati College, India

1992: Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement, USA

Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, San Francisco Worldwide Movie Competition

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