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     Volume 2 Issue 16| April 18, 2010|


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A Tribute to Satyajit Ray
The Doyen of film making

Star Campus Desk

Every year, on 23 April, we observe the death anniversary of Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest filmmakers the world has ever seen. On the occasion of his birth and death anniversary, various film clubs and organisations organise film shows and discussion programmes.

Ray's movies have been seen by the film lovers and critics over and over again sine 1955 when he made his first film Pather Panchali. The young generation filmmakers in Bangladesh take keen interest on his films and try to learn about his technique. Today, Apur Sansar or Jalsaghar or Aguntak appeal to the young audience just the same way as they did when they were released first.



Knowing Satyajit Ray through his films

Dr. Kalpana Bhowmik

"I will remain alive in the hearts of each and every person." Looking at his picture it makes me feel that may be this is what he believed about himself. His appearance gives the image of a man with strong ambition and a belief in himself.

In 1977, the renowned movie 'Pather Panchali' first introduced me with Satyajit Ray. What a heart-touching movie it is! I have seen this movie a number of times. And each time I watch it, a single word escapes my mouth---'outstanding!'

Not only 'Pather Panchali' but all his movies are extraordinary, for example: Apur Sangsar, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne', Sonar Kella, Aranyer Din Ratri, etc. They not only captivate the adults, but also touch the hearts of the young ones. Even the young generation watches his movies with great interest. And all his viewers end up with the comments- 'amazing', 'fabulous', outstanding; etc.

This eminent individual was born on May 2, 1921, in Kolkata. His homeland was in Mashua village, in Khshorganj (Bangladesh). Ray's ancestry can be traced back for at least ten generations. His grandfather Upendrakishore Ray was a writer, illustrator, philosopher, amateur astronomer and a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, a religious and social movement in the nineteenth century Bengal. Sukumar Ray, Upendrakishore's son, was a pioneering Bengali writer of rhymes, children's literature and illustrator and a critic. He was born to Sukumar and Suprabha Ray. His father Sukumar Ray died when he was barely three, and the family survived on Suprabha Ray's meagre income.

Ray studied at Ballygunge Government High School, Kolkata, and then completed his BA (Hons.) in Economics at Presidency College of the Calcutta University. His interest was always in fine arts, and later he joined Santiniketan to study arts. He began his career as a commercial artist. He founded Kolkata's first film society in 1947 and made his first film 'Pather Panchali' (1955) while working at an advertising agency.

In 1949, Ray got married to Bijoya Das. The couple had a son, Sandeep, who is now a film director.

Satyajit Ray's skill was multifarious. He was a renowned writer, producer, director, screenwriter, composer and a graphic designer as well.

He has written several notable short stories, articles, and novels. The depth and incredulity of his stories is bound to amaze the readers. In most of his stories, Satyajit Ray has brought up the issue of morality - that one has to earn one's own personality. It cannot be hired. He showed that even the simplicity of a very simple character holds ornate meaning. Such characters are found in his stories like- 'Potol Babu', Film star', "Ronku Babur Bondhu', etc.

Although some of his stories were meant for children, even adults find them equally attractive. In certain stories, Ray included specific characters. He was the first in Bengali literature to put up virtual appearances of spectres in movies. For example in 'Anath Bondhur Bhoi' and 'Brown Shaheber Bari', he gave a very stunning and horrific ending. Ray's children's stories touched the hearts of his older readers as well. His skill in story telling entertained youngsters, as well as left messages for the adults.

Satyajit Ray's artistic mind is reflected in his stories. His movies cast a 'spellbound' effect on the audience. Here is where we observe the intensity of his skill as a filmmaker. He presented very small facts, like, simple raindrops, spider webs, with such intense reality and fantasy that it left the viewers wondering in amazement.

Satyajit Ray is recognised as one of the world's top 10 best filmmakers. He directed 37 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts, such as: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajita (1956), Parashpathar (1957), Jalsaghar (1958), Apur Sansar (1959), Devi (1960), Tin Kanya (1961); documentary films: Rabindranath (1961), Kanchanjangha (1962), Abhijan (1962), Mahanagar (1963), Charulata (1964), Kapurush O Mahapurush (1965), Nayak (1966), Chiriakhana (1967), Goopy Gyne Bagha Bayne (1968), Aranyer Dinratri (1969), Pratidwandhi(1970), Sikkim (1971), Inner Eye (1972), Ashani Sangket (1973), Sonar Kella (*1974), Janaranya (1975), Satranj ki Khiladi (1977), Joybaba Felunath (1978), Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980), Piku (1982), Satgati (1982), Ghare Baire (1984), Sukumar Roy (1987), Ganoshtru (1989), Shakha Proshakha (1990) and Agantuk (1991). From 1955 up to his death in 1992, Ray devoted all his thoughts and time in filmmaking.

Ray's first film, 'Pather Panchali' won him eleven international prizes, including 'Best Human Document' at the Cannes first film festival and Oscar. Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, cinematography, art direction, editing and designed his own credit titles an d publicity material. Ray received many major awards in his career,

including 21 Indian National Film Awards, a number of awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992.

This great man - a writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic has grown up amidst great hardship. After that he burned midnight oils and succeeded in fulfilling his ambition in life. He worked hard and etched a corner in people's hearts. He died in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 23 April 1992.

Through his works Ray has touched the hearts of people and has become immortal. He will live in his audience's hearts forever.

(The writer is D.Litt holder and a Deputy Librarian (Research) of Dhaka University)



Satyajit Ray & His Awards

Subir Das & Tina Nandi

"A simple quadrilateral where the weave starts from; two diagonals which divide it into four triangles and finally from the intersecting point- the final weave starts and gradually covers the whole quadrilateral. That is how a spider makes its living net……Excellent geometry….. Then the earth moves around the sun through an elliptic curve. Here is also geometry. …… Every life is full of geometry.”

Well; all of you people who are great fans of Satyajit Ray have already understood who we are talking about. He is none other than the great Satyajit Ray who has extraordinarily juxtaposed life with geometry.

In his lifetime, he was conferred upon many significant awards including Padma Shri (1958), Padma Bhushan (1965), D. Litt (1974) from Royal College of Art, London, D. Litt (1978) from University of Oxford, Legion d'Honneur from the Govt. of France (1987).

Satyajit Ray had won maximum number of the coveted National Film Awards. He won 32 National Film Awards among those Best Film for Pather Panchali (1956), Best Film Apur Sansar (1960), Best Feature film Teen Kanya (1962), Best Film Charulata (1965), Best Screenplay Nayak (1967), Best Directing Chiriakhana (1968), Best Directing, Best Film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969), and Best Feature Film for the same movie in 1970, Best Directing, Feature Film and Screenplay Pratidwandi (1971), Best Music Direction Ashani Sanket (1973), Best Directing, Screenplay Sonar Kella (1975) are worthy to be mentioned.

Now the good news is that West Bengal Government has decided to include all of the shooting spots of Satyajit Ray except 'Pather Panchali' into tourism map and for that started a project named “Satyajit Ray Trail”. So, fans - don't let the beauty go and whenever you get a chance click it and take a trip to this heaven- “Satyajit Ray Trail”.





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