Biography of Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray wss an outstanding genius and his name is written in large words in the history of art films.

In 1955, Satyajit Ray directed the Bengali Drama Film named “Pather Panchali”, a film of new flavor and taste – undreamt of in those days in the arena of cinema of the world not speak of India.

Satyajit Ray is one of those rare geniuses of India who had won a number of laurels from abroad as well as his own country.

Here below we give a short synopsis of the achievements that have made history.


Satyajit Ray was born in North Calcutta on May 2,1921. He graduated from Calcutta University with honors in economics in 1940.

Career and achievements:

In 1943 he joined an advertisement company.

Satyajit Ray produced a number of feature-films, scripts for cinematograph such as Zinder Bandi (Captive of Zind), Ghare-Baire (At Home and beyond Home), etc.

In 1951 after his dialogue with the Russian film director Pud Vakin and actor Cherkasov, he decided to make a full fledged film on Bibhutibhusan’s Pather Panchali. The film was ready by 1955 and that year it was shown for the first time in ‘Newyork’ Museum of Modern Art and it was acclaimed as a great human document and was awarded a prize in the ‘Cannes Film Festival’.

In 1959 he was awarded “Padmashri”. In 1961 he was elected chairman of the “Berlin-Film-Festival”. In 1963, he was reckoned as one of the eleven ‘greats’ of world as a film director. He graced “Melbourne-Film Festival” as the guest in chief in 1965. He also acted as judge of “Tehran-Film Festival”in 1971.

In 1981 the films produced by Satyajit Ray were exhibited in India Festival organized by New York Museum.

In 1987 he was awarded by France the rare “Legion de Honore” by France and the reward was handed over to him in person by the President of France himself.  He was ministered the honorable Oscar award for his lifelong performance in 1992 just before his death on 23rd April this year. He was bestowed the highest national award “Bharat Ratna” in the same year.

Film Production History of Satyajit Ray:

Now we switch over to the history of his film production:

  1. Pather Panchali (The Ballad of the Road) – 1955
  2. Aparajita (Undefeated) – 1956
  3. Jalsaghar (Danced Hall) – 1959
  4. Apur Sansar (The family of Apu) – 1959
  5. Devi (Goddess) – 1960
  6. Tinkanya (Three daughters) – 1961
  7. Abhijan (Expedition) – 1962
  8. Mahanagar (Metropolis) – 1963
  9. Charulata – 1965
  10. Nayak (Protagonist) – 1966
  11. Chiriyakhana (Zoo) – 1967
  12. Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen – 1969
  13. Pratidwandi (The Rivals) – 1970
  14. Seemabaddha (Jammured) – 1971
  15. Ashani Sanket (Premonition of Lighting) – 1973
  16. Sonar Kella (The Fortress of Gold) – 1974
  17. Jana Aranya (The jungle of People) – 1975
  18. Satranch ka Khiladi (The chess Player) – 1977
  19. Jai Baba Felunath (A victory for Falunath) – 1978
  20. Hirak Rajar Deshe (Kingdom of Hirak Diamond the King) – 1980
  21. Ghare Bairey (The Home and the World) – 1984
  22. Ganashatru (The Enemy of the people) – 1989
  23. Agantuk (The stranger) – 1991

While assessing the worth of the film maestro what stricks us most is that most of the characters of his films are not megastars of ‘Hollywood’ or ‘Bollywood films. In portraying the characters of his films Satyajit Ray displays wonderful; artistic acumen coupled with his close observation of life.

In Pather Panchali, for example, we have a Galaxy of character, but they are all humble being of our home having nothing spectacular about them. Apu, Durga, Sarobajoya and others are all down on earth people living in remote villages of India far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strift.

In many of his film Nature acts as a suitable background to human emotions. Nature is portrayed in his film not from the view point of a man living in the “ebony tower” but from that of a person who has identified himself with Nature. In Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar, Aparajita etc. Nature has been projected in such a way that the men and women of these films cannot be dissociated from their natural background.

Another unforgettable contribution of Satyajit Ray is that is his films the common people – particularly the middle class people – loom large. But that does not mean, his object was to make exposer of privation and poverty that sits cross legged in social scenario of India. The characters peopling some of his film like “Shakha Proshakha” are all first classed citizens belonging to the high social start. The fact is that what every Ray has done – no matter whether it is the exposure of poverty or not – he has done all for art’s sake.

Apart from this, Satyajit Ray’s films are glaring evidences of art produced with paucity funds he could not afford to produce films expending costly apparatus and instruments. With the very humble technology almost to the point of crudity he had produced some art films that could be produced only by the avant garde directors of the world with highly sophisticated technology at their disposal.

The greatest achievement of Mr. Ray is his resounding success in emancipating the Indian films from the clutches of commercial producers. Satyajit Ray emerged in the arena of film when the Indian film was almost nauseating because of the undisputed dominance of profit-hungry producers making films with an eye to the fattening of their bank balance. It was not a small matter for Satyajit Ray to face them and ultimately overcome them.

Satyajit Ray is a class by himself and  have positively contributed to the enrichment of Bengali literature and some of this are sure to pass through corridors of time into eternity – an eternity that a literary historian can minister. Besides Satyajit Ray has some positive contribution to the enrichment of painting. Last but not is his contribution to music least. The music direction of Satyajit Ray in films like – ‘‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’ is impeccable almost to the point of perfection.

Death and Conclusion:

Satyajit Ray is a versatile genius. His death on 23rd April 1992 is one of the darkest events of history of Modern India. His sad and sudden eclipse from the mundane scenario is an irreparable loss to India, nay, to the whole world. His death has created a vacuum in our life – a vacuum that we are afraid, can never be filled in.

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