Satyajit Ray


Director
Satyajit Ray

About

Birth Place
India
Born
May 02, 1921
Died
April 23, 1992
Cause of Death
Heart Failure

Biography

Satyajit Ray, India's only internationally renowned filmmaker, was born into a family prominent in Bengali arts and letters for fifteen generations. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics, he attended Rabindranath Tagore's "world university" in rural Santiniketan. Tagore, the dominant figure in India's cultural renaissance, had a strong influence on Ray, whose human...

Family & Companions

Bijoya Das
Wife
Married in 1948; Ray's cousin.

Notes

"Not to have seen the films of Satyajit Ray would mean existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon." --Akira Kurosawa quoted in The New York Times, February 21, 1992.

"Ray's productions were virtually one-man shows. He wrote the screenplay, cast the parts, designed the costumes, scored the music, directed, mixed and edited the final package. Originally a graphic artist, he also sketched the advertisements." --From New York Post obituary, April 24, 1992.

Biography

Satyajit Ray, India's only internationally renowned filmmaker, was born into a family prominent in Bengali arts and letters for fifteen generations. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics, he attended Rabindranath Tagore's "world university" in rural Santiniketan. Tagore, the dominant figure in India's cultural renaissance, had a strong influence on Ray, whose humanist films reaffirm his Bengali heritage within a modern context.

In 1942, Ray returned to Calcutta, where he spent the next ten years as layout artist and art director for a British-run advertising agency. In his spare time he wrote film scenarios, among them an adaptation of Tagore's novel, "Ghare Baire," which producers rejected when Ray refused to make changes. With India's independence in 1947, Ray co-founded Calcutta's first film society with Chidananda Das Gupta and wrote articles calling for a new cinema.

His reputation as a graphic artist brought offers to illustrate books, including an abridged edition of Bibhuti Bhusan Banerjee's classic novel, "Pather Panchali," in 1946. After an influential encounter with Jean Renoir in Calcutta in 1949 and a business trip to London in 1950, where he saw Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief "(1948), Ray set out to script and direct "Pather Panchali." The film, shot on location on weekends, failed to attract backers and could not be completed until a request from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to include it in their Indian art exhibit led the West Bengal government--in an unprecedented move--to provide funds.

"Pather Panchali" (1956) won several international awards and established Ray as a world-class director, as well as being a box-office hit at home. Artistic and financial success gave Ray total control over his subsequent films; in his numerous functions--writer, director, casting director, composer (since 1961) and cinematographer (since 1963)--he was able to continue Tagore's example in theater of welding the arts into a unified entity. Two sequels also based on the novel ("Aparajito" 1957, "The World of Apu" 1959) completed the acclaimed "Apu" trilogy, whose slow-paced realism broke with the song-and-dance melodramas of Indian cinema. Using long takes and reaction shots, slow camera movements, and--in "Kanchanjangha" (1962)--real-time narrative, Ray allows the meticulous accumulation of details to reveal the inner lives and humanity of diverse Bengali characters.

In 1961, Ray revived "Sandesh," a children's magazine founded by his grandfather, to which he continued to contribute illustrations, verses and stories throughout his life. Beginning in 1969, he also made four popular children's films which contain an unobtrusive yet distinct political awareness. Earlier in his career, Ray was criticized by Indian critics for failing to deal with Calcutta's immediate social problems. And although he defended his humanist (versus ideological) approach, "Pratidwandi" (1971) signaled a shift toward political themes. In the 1970s, Ray's films acquired a bitter tone and deviated from his usual classical style, with the abrupt use of montage, jump cuts and flashbacks.

Ray's "Ghaire Baire/The Home and the World" (1984) was a return to his first screen adaptation. While shooting, he suffered two heart attacks and his son, Sandip, completed the project from his father's detailed instructions. Ray continued to write prolifically, completing 13 half-hour TV screenplays to be directed by Sandip, and returned to directing in 1989 with an adaptation of Ibsen's "Enemy of the People." In 1992, the year of his death, Ray was awarded an honorary Oscar for "his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and for his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world."

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Stranger (1991)
Director
Shakha Proshaka (1990)
Director
An Enemy of the People (1989)
Director
The Home and the World (1984)
Director
Sadgati (1982)
Director
The Elephant God (1979)
Director
The Chess Players (1977)
Director
The Masses' Music (1976)
Director
The Middleman (1976)
Director
Ashani Sanket (1973)
Director
Simbaddha (1972)
Director
The Adversary (1971)
Director
Days and Nights in the Forest (1969)
Director
The Big City (1967)
Director
Kanchenjungha (1966)
Director
The Coward (1965)
Director
The Lonely Wife (1965)
Director
Two Daughters (1963)
Director
The Music Room (1963)
Director
Devi (1962)
Director
The Expedition (1962)
Director
Three Daughters: Monihara (1961)
Director
Three Daughters: The Postmaster (1961)
Director
Three Daughters: Samapti (1961)
Director
The World Of Apu (1959)
Director
Pather Panchali (1958)
Director
Aparajito (1956)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Satyajit Ray - Introspections (1991)
Himself
Satyajit Ray (1982)
Himself

Writer (Feature Film)

Target (1995)
Screenwriter
The Stranger (1991)
Screenwriter
Shakha Proshaka (1990)
Screenwriter
An Enemy of the People (1989)
Screenplay
The Home and the World (1984)
Screenplay
Sadgati (1982)
Screenwriter
The Elephant God (1979)
Screenplay
The Chess Players (1977)
Dialogue
The Chess Players (1977)
Screenwriter
The Middleman (1976)
Screenwriter
Ashani Sanket (1973)
Screenplay
Simbaddha (1972)
Screenwriter
The Adversary (1971)
Screenwriter
Days and Nights in the Forest (1969)
Screenplay
The Big City (1967)
Screenwriter
Kanchenjungha (1966)
Screenwriter
The Coward (1965)
Screenplay
The Lonely Wife (1965)
Screenwriter
Two Daughters (1963)
Screenwriter
The Music Room (1963)
Screenwriter
Devi (1962)
Screenwriter
The Expedition (1962)
Screenwriter
Three Daughters: Samapti (1961)
Writer
Three Daughters: Monihara (1961)
Writer
Three Daughters: The Postmaster (1961)
Writer
The World Of Apu (1959)
Screenplay
Pather Panchali (1958)
Screenwriter
Aparajito (1956)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Stranger (1991)
Producer
Kanchenjungha (1966)
Producer
Two Daughters (1963)
Producer
The Music Room (1963)
Producer
Devi (1962)
Producer
The Expedition (1962)
Producer
Three Daughters: Samapti (1961)
Producer
Three Daughters: The Postmaster (1961)
Producer
Three Daughters: Monihara (1961)
Producer
The World Of Apu (1959)
Producer
Pather Panchali (1958)
Producer
Aparajito (1956)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Music
Ray: Life and Work of Satyajit Ray (1999)
Music
Parvaz-e Zanbur (1998)
Music
Target (1995)
Music
The Stranger (1991)
Music
Shakha Proshaka (1990)
Music
An Enemy of the People (1989)
Music
The Home and the World (1984)
Music
Sadgati (1982)
Music
The Elephant God (1979)
Music
The Chess Players (1977)
Music
The Middleman (1976)
Music
Ashani Sanket (1973)
Music
Simbaddha (1972)
Music
The Adversary (1971)
Music
Days and Nights in the Forest (1969)
Music
The Big City (1967)
Music
Shakespeare Wallah (1966)
Music
Kanchenjungha (1966)
Music Arrangement
The Lonely Wife (1965)
Music
Two Daughters (1963)
Music
The Householder (1963)
Music rec Supervisor
The Expedition (1962)
Music

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Kanchenjungha (1966)
Title paintings by

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Ray: Life and Work of Satyajit Ray (1999)
Other
Satyajit Ray (1982)
Other

Cast (Special)

The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1992)
Performer

Director (Short)

The Inner Eye (1972)
Director
Rabindranath Tagore (1961)
Director

Cast (Short)

The Inner Eye (1972)
Narrator

Writer (Short)

The Inner Eye (1972)
Writer
Rabindranath Tagore (1961)
Writer

Life Events

1942

Worked for D.J. Keymer & Co., British-run advertising agency; began as layout artist, worked his way up to senior art director

1947

Founded Calcutta's first film society with Chidananda Das Gupta

1956

Wrote, produced and directed first feature, "Pather Panchali"

1992

Received lifetime achievement honorary Oscar on March 16 at a Calcutta hospital where he had been admitted with chest pains and respiratory problems a few weeks earlier

Videos

Movie Clip

Pather Panchali (1955) - A Sumptuous Feast The first appearance of the dreamy father Harihar (Kanu Banerjee), waxing almost irrational for wife Sarbajaya (Karuna Banerjee), young Durga (Runki Banerjee) about as the old aunt (Chunibala Devi) rocks newborn Apu, in Satyajit Ray's celebrated Pather Panchali, 1955.
Pather Panchali (1955) - Fruit Has No Name On It The neighbor Mrs Mukherji (Reva Devi) and daughter (Rama Gangopadhaya) visit to accuse sister Durga (Uma Das Gupta) of stealing a necklace, also fruit, which is an issue dating back years, confronting mother (Karuna Banerji), as Apu (Subir Banerji) and auntie (Chunibala Devi) observe, in Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, 1955.
Pather Panchali (1955) - Open, Song Of The Little Road The opening and credits, citing the original novel by Bibhutibhusan (Banerjee) Bandyopadhyay, from director Satyajit Ray’s landmark first feature, Pather Panchali, 1955, after almost four years in production, beginning what became the “Apu Trilogy.”
Pather Panchali (1955) - So Many Thieves The opening of director Satyajit Ray's landmark first feature is dominated by the cranky neighbor (Reva Devi), complaining about young Durga (Runkee Banerjee), well within earshot of her mother (Karuna Banerjee), in Pather Panchali, 1955, music by Ravi Shankar.
Pather Panchali (1955) - Have You Ever Seen A Train? Apu (Subir Banerjee) is more grown up, his father (Kanu Banerjee) still philosophical, as the mother (Karuna Banerjee) tends to now adolescent Durga (Uma Das Gupta), the old aunt (Chunibala Devi) still with them, in Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, 1955.

Family

Sukumar Ray
Father
Writer, artist.
Suprabha Das Ray
Mother
Singer.
Sandip Ray
Son
Director. Born 1953; mother Bijoya Das Ray.

Companions

Bijoya Das
Wife
Married in 1948; Ray's cousin.

Bibliography

Notes

"Not to have seen the films of Satyajit Ray would mean existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon." --Akira Kurosawa quoted in The New York Times, February 21, 1992.

"Ray's productions were virtually one-man shows. He wrote the screenplay, cast the parts, designed the costumes, scored the music, directed, mixed and edited the final package. Originally a graphic artist, he also sketched the advertisements." --From New York Post obituary, April 24, 1992.

Given the Gem of India Award (1992), the highest civilian honor in India.