We pay a tribute to the legendry filmmaker Satyajit Ray on his 89th birth anniversary.
The Satyajit Ray classic Aranyer Din Ratri will be this year's highlight at River to River, Italy's only festival of Indian cinema that is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Four films by India's master filmmaker - Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Jalsaghar, Charulata being the other three - will be screened in the retrospective section at the weeklong festival that opens in Florence Dec 3.
We pay a tribute to the legendary filmmaker...
Satyajit Ray was born in Kolkata on May 2, 1921, into an illustrious Bengali family. His father, Sukumar Ray was a pioneering writer of Bengali nonsense rhyme and children's literature. After graduating from Presidency College, Ray studied fine arts at the Shantiniketan university founded by Rabindranath Tagore
His early working life included advertising and publishing but he decided to make movies after watching Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves. In 1943, he assisted French director Jean Renoir who was in Kolkata shooting The River. Renoir encouraged Ray to turn to filmmaking
In 1955, Ray made his first film Pather Panchali which would also become the first in the Apu Trilogy. Pather Panchali was a poetic and evocative look at the life of Apu, a little village boy. It won the “Best Human Document” Award at Cannes
His next two Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959) completed the Apu trilogy.
Ray's next few films dealt with socio-economic issues. Prominent among these were Jalsaghar (1958), Devi (1960), Teen Kanya (1961) and Abhijan (1962)
In 1962 he directed Kanchenjungha, his first colour feature, and in 1964 he directed Charulata, arguably his masterpiece.
Post Charulata, Ray branched into genres including science fiction, fantasy and mystery. He made serious movies – Nayak (1966), Pratidwandi (1970), Seemabaddha (1971), Jana Aranya (1975) – as well as lighter fare – Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969), Sonar Kella (1974) and Joy Baba Felunath (1978)
Shatranj ke Khiladi, made in 1977, had dialogue in Urdu and Hindi film and was Ray's first movie in a language other than Bengali
A heart attack in 1983 and general ill health kept Ray away from the camera for a few years. After recovering, he made Ganashatru and Shakha Proshakha
In 1991, he made Agantuk, which was to be his last movie
He died on April 23, 1992, a legend of Indian cinema and a cultural icon for Indians, especially Bengalis, everywhere
His layered and innovative style of filmmaking won him awards, both in India and abroad. He is ranked on all “Top Directors” Lists by cinema magazines and critics' polls
He began his career with an award at Cannes and ended it with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar as well as the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. He also won the Golden Lion for Aparajito at the Venice Film Festival in 1956 and the Golden Lion Honorary Award there in 1982. That same year, he was given a special “Hommage a Satyajit Ray” award at Cannes
Other awards included the Dadasaheb Phalke in 1985 and the French Legion of Honor in 1987
The multitalented director also wrote several detective and science fiction books. He also designed 4 typefaces for Roman script and illustrated all his own books as well as designing covers for other authors