1. Pather Panchali – The Song Of The Little Road (1955)
This utter marvel of a movie is what makes
the movie maven he was. Utterly brilliant and masterfully made, the film is listed in several greatest films of all time lists for good reasons. The plot centres on a priest, his wife and aged cousin, and the leads, his son and daughter, Apu and Durga. The movie goes on to showcase several events in the lives of Apu and Durga and how they eventually move on to Benaras, in search of a better life.
2. Aparajito/The Unvanquished (1956)
The sequel to the evergreen original, this film continues the saga of Apu from when he is about ten years old till when he grows up as a young man and heads off to Calcutta in search of a job, a living and a way of life. This happens as a consequence of Harihar, Apu’s father, attempting to fruitlessly provide for his family while working as a priest. Despite his sudden death and the family being left financially stranded, the young Apu manages to survive till Calcutta.
3. Jalsaghar/The Music Room (1958)
Going to win most deservedly the Presidential Award, the story depicts a poor landlord who struggles to uphold his family’s principles and lives in the face of utter economic adversity.
4. Apur Sansar/The World Of Apu (1959)
The concluding narrative of the Apu trilogy follows the now matured man (Apu) who roams the streets and lanes of Calcutta tirelessly and fruitlessly searching for a job. He then marries the cousin of his friend out of sympathy when her marriage is broken asunder in mid-ceremony when it is found out her groom was mentally challenged. She eventually dies during childbirth and Apu also loses his son. After five years of agonising search and travel, he is reunited with him, and they go on to lead a fulfilling life.
5. Devi/The Goddess (1960)
The film depicts the dramatic changes in the life of a young woman when her father-in-law declares her as a reincarnation of the Goddess Kali.
6. Charulata/The Lonely Wife (1964)
The plot centres on a young and beautiful wife being trapped in the affections for her brother-in-law when he comes to stay with her family, and her husband continues to ignore her while he runs a newspaper and she remains childless.
7. Teen Kanya/Three Girls (1961)
The movie happens to be an anthology consisting of three short films based on three stories by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore; The Postmaster, Mohirara (The lost jewels) and Samapti (Conclusion).
8. Nayak/The Hero (1966)
This amazing work of art by Satyajit Ray focuses on the travails of a Bengali film superstar as he is secretly interviewed by a journalist aboard the train to Delhi where he is headed to accept an award. As he unsuspectingly reveals all of his travesties and guilts to the young woman, she realizes that it would be unfair to tell his tale to the world.
9. Shatranj Ke Khilari/The Chess Players (1977)
The film is a montage of the life and times of 19th century India in the events leading up to the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857.
10. Agantuk/The Stranger (1991)
The last film of Satyajit Ray happens to be a must-watch for its acting talent and the story of a guest in a less than welcoming home.