Satyajit Ray: The Enduring Master of World Cinema

Mrinal Sen (left) with Satyajit Ray (right) | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives
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A Tribute to Auteur Satyajit Ray on His 99th Birth Anniversary
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Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon. 
 – Akira Kurosawa 

We would have all celebrated legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s 97th birthday had he been alive today. Satyajit Ray was the Indian filmmaker who really placed India on the top of the global cinematic map and inspired generations of film makers with his artistic sensibilities and cinematic genius. No wonder, other great filmmakers of the world such as Christopher Nolan called Satyajit Ray’s first film Pather Panchali called it one of the finest films in the history of film making. 

On his 99th birth anniversary, let us all recall one of the world’s greatest directors and his remarkable life. Satyajit Ray was indeed the finest filmmaker India has ever produced and he was the one who gave an altogether new dimension to the cinema of the 20th century. 

His movies have not only touched the lives of millions of cinema lovers across the world but have inspired and shaped the minds of generations of filmmakers too. 

Satyajit Ray is best known for his humanistic approach to cinema. He made his films in Bengali but that didn’t stop those from other lingual backgrounds to sing the praises of his remarkable films, because his films spoke of universal human emotions and thus had a universal appeal. His films beautifully wove society and human relationships in the threads of love, struggle, conflict, sorrow and happiness. 

Satyajit Ray belonged to one of the most prominent families in the world of art and literature and had a fan following across the world. He was India’s first and only Oscar winning director. He had started off his career as a graphic artist before going to London where he realised his passion for filmmaking. Throughout his long and fruitful career as a director, Satyajit Ray directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries as well as telly films. 

Apart from being one of the greatest auteurs that India has ever produced, Satyajit Ray was a fiction writer, illustrator, publisher, graphic designer and staunch film critic.

 Satyajit Ray’s first film Pather Panchali (1955), won him nearly eleven prizes at an international level. These prizes included Best Human Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival and an Honorary Academy Award in 1922. Ray had also been honoured by the Bharat Ratna in 1992 by the Government of India. Ray’s career was embellished with some of the most remarkable films that the world has ever seen and he is best known for his cult films such as Pather Panchali. Aranyer Din Ratri, Nayaka, Seemanaddhaa, Charulata and the widely watched Feluda Series. 

Satyajit Ray died on April 23,1992 at the age of 70 because of heart related complications. The world community misses him everyday and pays its tributes to a director without whom the pages of world cinema would have forever remained incomplete.

Disha Kapoor is a film maker – based in Pune.