Biographies reveal bare details about the maverick filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Even today not much is known about this extraordinary filmmaker. But people still have a passion for doing research upon his classic films as he is an extraordinary filmmaker. Satyajit Ray was India’s first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Academy Award (Honorary Oscar) in 1992. He is also a recipient of the honorary doctorate by Oxford University ( after actor Chaplin). The government of India has awarded him ‘Padma Bhushan(1965) and Dadasaheb Phalke Award(1985) and the highest civilian honour’Bharat Ratna’(1992) too. In 1992, he was even posthumously awarded the Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement in directing at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The director was chosen once as No 7 in the list of list of "Top 10 Directors" of the world.
Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta on 2 May 1921. He completed his degree at Presidency College, Calcutta. After his graduation, he joined a British-run advertising agency (D.J.Keymer) as a junior Visualiser drawing eighty rupees per month. During 1947, he set up the ‘Calcutta Film Society’ with his colleagues that screened many foreign films. In 1950, he landed up in London where he watched 99 films. Ray had even once said that seeing some neorealist films had an impact, and he decided to become a filmmaker. Thus, he shot his film ‘Pather Panchali’ in late 1952. He shot this film with his personal savings and borrowed some funds, but that was not sufficient either. It took three years to complete the film. West Bengal Government funded the film and his first film ‘Pather Panchali’ released in 1955. The film won him international acclaim. The film was the adaptation from a novel written by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. This film ‘Pather Panchali’ even today is featured in lists of the greatest films ever made. This film established Ray as one of the country’s most distinguished filmmaker, and the film won in 1956 an award (Best Human Document award) in the Cannes Film Festival. Later, Ray went to make a total of 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and short films. He had won 32
National Film Awards so far.
Ray has introduced
Aparna Sen, Jaya Bhaduri,
Sharmila Tagore, Soumitra Chatterjee to Indian cinema and even worked with
Shabana Azmi and
Sanjeev Kumar. Satyajit Ray was in charge of scripting, casting, musical scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. In the International film world, Ray is well known for ‘Apu Trilogy’ which comprised three Bengali films ‘’Pather Panchali’’, ‘’Aparajito’’ and ‘’Apur Sansar’’ directed by Ray. He later made one of his classic films ‘Charulata’ based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel. Although Ray considers ‘Charulata’ as his favourite film that he ever made, critics consider another film ‘
Devi’ as his best. The film ‘Charulata’ fetched Ray the Silver Bear Award for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival. He received the same award for his earlier film ‘
Mahanagar’ too. Though Ray never looked for dolled-up glamour for his films he personified the actresses’ beauty as intelligent beauty in many films and chose Waheeda Rehman, Sharmila Tagore, Aparna Sen, Simi Garewal, Madhavi Mukherjee in his films.
Satyajit Ray, who is considered as a true poet of cinema, has directed a Bengali film ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’ (1969) which was based on a story of his grandfather Upendra Kishore. Although Ray directed matinee idol
Uttam Kumar in his two films ‘Nayak’ and ‘Chiriyakhana’, Ray could not succeed in directing
Suchitra Sen. In 1958, the director made another classic film ‘Jalsaghar’ which made French people pay attention to Ray’s films. The film boasts of Chhabi Biswas’s superb performance and music by Ustand Vilayat Khan contributed to creating the right atmosphere in the film. Ray is also known for his films like ‘Kanchenjangha’(1962), ‘Ganashatru’ (1990), ‘Sonar Kella’ (1974), ‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’ (1980), ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’ (1969),’ Ashani Sanket’ (1973) and ‘Agantuk’ (1991) etc. The director passed away on 3 April 1992 in Kolkata. He left behind his wife,
Bijoya Ray and son Sandip Ray. He was a towering personality and his encyclopedic knowledge, his charisma, and his vision of cinema always coincided with the hope of an emergent nation.