Early Life of Satyajit Ray
Childhood of Satyajit Ray was spent in Kolkata. He completed his education in the year 1939 from Presidency College with an honours degree in Economics. Later, he went to Santiniketan to pursue his education of art and drawing from Visva-Bharati University. In the year 1942 he returned to Kolkata and joined an ad agency as a graphic designer. He worked there for thirteen years until he decided to take up film-making as a full time profession.
Akira Kurosawa, the great Japanese Filmmaker once commented, - "The quiet but deep observation, understanding and love of the human race, which are characteristic of all his films, have impressed me greatly. I feel that he is a "giant" of the movie industry. Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon"
Till date several film directors have adapted from Tagore's short stories and novels and have also used Rabindrasangeet in their films. But it has to be admitted that the flair with which Satyajit Ray presented Tagore's works, it is unprecedented. For instance, a person listening to "Ami chini go chini tomarey" will definitely be reminded of Soumitra Chatterjee in Satyajit Ray's Charulata. Even ages after the film was made Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore are indissoluble. This is the magic of the maestro, Satyajit Ray!
Satyajit Ray as a Graphic Designer
Before he decided to become a full time filmmaker, Ray was a graphic designer in an ad agency in Kolkata. Early career of Satyajit Ray was that of a graphic visualizer and he also made designs cover jackets for "Signet Press" and drew the illustrations for stories.
Although much had been written about Satyajit Ray remains essentially insurmountable to this day. Ray's biographer, Andrew Robinson, mentioned in his book that there are two good reasons to learn Bengali. One is Rabindranath Tagore and the other is definitely Satyajit Ray.
Satyajit Ray as a Filmmaker
Satyajit Ray as a filmmaker entered the filmdom with Pather Panchali in 1955. But long before this Satyajit Ray had established the first film society in Kolkata in 1947. Today Pather Panchali is considered a masterpiece in world cinema but upon its release the film was a super flop.
To describe Satyajit Ray just as a director would be understatement for his forte. Apart from being donning the mantle of a director Satyajit Ray was involved with the films as a producer, screenplay writer, composer, dialogue writer and even as a designer. There are few films which had left an indelible mark on Ray's mind and one of them is Bicycle Thief. This film reinstated Satyajit Ray's belief that realist films can still be made. Today he is considered one of the pioneer neo realist Indian directors.
Pather Panchali has been immortalized in the history of world cinema. The making of the film is equally interesting. It had been a long journey for Satyajit Ray to finish his first film. He gathered young talented technicians to make Pather Panchali. From 1950s Satyajit Ray had constantly struggling to make the film and his painstaking efforts finally paid off when in 1955 the film was well received by the film aficionados. Commercially the film was a flop but it catapulted Satyajit Ray to the arena of world cinema. The master had finally arrived in Indian cinema!
He made a sequel to Pather Panchali, Aporajito. This was also his second film. The last part of Pather Panchali was Apur Sansar. The Apu Trilogy is seen as one of the finest works of Satyajit Ray. Ray then went onto make a number of films in Bengali. Most of his films bagged honours in the International Film Festivals. Today India is a known name in international filmdom. This recognition is due to stalwarts like Satyajit Ray.
Satyajit Ray as a Writer
Apart from making films, Satyajit Ray as a writer had also left his mark among people. His literary feats include non fictions and fictions. He restarted the children's magazine, 'Sandesh'. This magazine was started by his grandfather, Upendrakishore Roy Choudhuri. Interested readers can look for fictions like "Shera Satyajit", "Aaro Satyajit", and Collection of FeludaStories, Collection of Professor Shanku, Satyajit Omnibus and others.
In his later years Satyajit Ray made the Kolkata trilogy: "Pratidwandi", "Seemabaddha" and "Jana Aranya". The numbers of awards that Satyajit Ray seems are numerous. His films have travelled from Locarno to Cannes and have been appreciated by critics and audiences alike. Satyajit introduced some of the outstanding actors to Indian cinema. Soumitra Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Jaya Bachchan, Tapen Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore and others were Satyajit Ray's discoveries. Apart from these Bengali actors the ace director has worked some of the superb performers like Utpal Dutta, Chhabi Biswas, Rabi Ghosh, Santosh Dutta, Anil Chatterjee and others.
A filmography of Satyajit Ray would include the following films:
It is near impossible to sum up the achievements of Satyajit Ray. He had made with such conviction that the audience will be compelled to believe in his beliefs. The issues that he raises in his films will oblige a person to think about it. That is the excellence of Satyajit Ray! The subtle nuances in his films are impossible to miss.
Satyajit Ray died of illness in 23rd April, 1992. The death of Satyajit Ray left a void in the Indian filmdom that was never to be filled.