SATYAJITRAY Satyajit Ray [2 May 1921 – 23April 1992) was an Indian Bengalifilmmaker. He is regarded as oneof the greatest auteur of 20thcentury cinema. Ray was born inthe city of Calcutta (now Kolkata)into a Bengali family prominent inthe world of arts and literature.Starting his career as acommercial artist, Ray was drawninto independent filmmaking aftermeeting French filmmaker JeanRenoir and viewing the Italianneorealist film Bicycle Thievesduring a visit to London.
SATYAJITRAY Ray directed thirty-seven films, includingfeature films, documentaries and shorts.He was also a fiction writer, publisher,illustrator, graphic designer and film critic.Rays first film, PatherPanchali (1955),won eleven international awards.Alongside Aparajito (1956) andApurSansar (1959), the three films formThe Apu Trilogy. Ray did the scripting,casting, scoring, cinematography, artdirection, editing and designed his owncredit titles and publicity material. Rayreceived many major awards in his career,including 32 Indian National Film Awards,a number of awards at international filmfestivals and award ceremonies, and anAcademy Honorary Award in 1991.
AWARDS, HONOURS AND RECOGNITIONS Numerous awards were bestowed on Ray throughouthis lifetime, including 32 National Film Awards by theGovernment of India, in addition to awards atinternational film festivals. At the Berlin Film Festival, hewas one of only three filmmakers to win the Silver Bearfor Best Director more than once and holds the recordfor the most number of Golden Bear nominations, withseven. At the Venice Film Festival, where he hadpreviously won a Golden Lion for Aparajito (1956), hewas awarded the Golden Lion Honorary Award in1982.That same year, he received an honorary"Hommage à Satyajit Ray" award at the 1982 CannesFilm Festival Ray is the second film personality afterChaplin to have been awarded honorary doctorates byOxford University. He was awarded theDadasahebPhalke Award in 1985 and the Legion ofHonor by the President of France in 1987. TheGovernment of India awarded him the highest civilianhonour, Bharat Ratna shortly before his death. TheAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awardedRay an honorary Oscar in 1992 for LifetimeAchievementRay with his Academy award just days beforehis death.
LITERARY WORKS Ray created two very popular characters inBengali childrens literature—Feluda, a sleuth,and Professor Shonku, a scientist. He was aprominent writer of science fiction in Bengali orany Indian language for that matter. He alsowrote short stories which were published asvolumes of 12 stories, always with namesplaying on the word twelve (for example Akerpitthe dui, or literally "Two on top of one"). Raysinterest in puzzles and puns is reflected in hisstories,Feluda often has to solve a puzzle to getto the bottom of a case. The Feludastories arenarrated by Topshe, his cousin, something of aWatson to FeludasHolmes. The science fictionsof Shonku are presented as a diary discoveredafter the scientist himself had mysteriouslydisappeared. Rays short stories give full reignto his interest in the macabre, in suspense andother aspects that he avoided in film, making foran interesting psychological study.Most of hiswritings have now been translated into English,and are finding a new group of readers.Cover of a collection ofSatyajit Rays shortstories
CRITICAL AND POPULAR RESPONSE Rays work has been described as reverberating withhumanism and universality, and of deceptive simplicity withdeep underlying complexity. Praise has often been heaped onhis work by many, including Akira Kurosawa, whodeclared, "Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existingin the world without seeing the sun or the moon."But hisdetractors find his films glacially slow, moving like a "majesticsnail."Some find his humanism simple-minded, and his workanti-modern and claim that they lack new modes ofexpression or experimentation found in works of Rayscontemporaries like Jean-Luc GodardStanley Kauffmanwrote, some critics believe that Ray "assumes [viewers] canbe interested in a film that simply dwells in itscharacters, rather than one that imposes dramatic patterns ontheir lives." Ray himself commented that this slowness issomething he can do nothing about. Kurosawa defended himby saying that Rays films were not slow at all, "His work canbe described as flowing composedly, like a big river".
RAYS LITERARY CAREER1961-1992, WRITER OF NON-FICTION, STORIES ANDNOVELS In 1961, Ray revived Sandesh, a childrens magazine founded by hisgrandfather, to which he continued to contribute illustrations, versesand stories throughout his life.Ray wrote numerous short stories, articles, and novels in Bengali.He made a significant contribution to childrens literature in Bengali.Most of his fiction was written for teen age children. His detectivestories and novels were particularly popular with them.His stories are unpretentious and entertaining. The subjectsincluded: adventure, detective stories, fantasy, science fiction andeven horror.
PATHERPANCHALI Pather Panchali was to be shot in sequence as Rayhad realized that he would be learning as they wentalong. He had to discover for himself, "how to catchthe hushed stillness of dusk in a Bengali villagewhen the wind drops and turns the ponds intosheets of glass, dappled by the leaves of Salukiand Shale, and the smoke from the ovens settles inwispy trails over the landscape and the plaintiveblows on conch shells from homes far and near arejoined by the chorus of crickets which rises as thelight falls, until