Satyajit Ray Biography: Satyajit Ray, (born May 2, 1921, Calcutta [now Kolkata], India; died April 23, 1992, Calcutta), Bengali film director, writer, and illustrator whose Pather Panchali (1955; The Song of the Road) and its two sequels, known as the Apu Trilogy, brought the Indian cinema to international prominence. Ray was renowned as a director for his humanity, versatility, and meticulous control over his films and their soundtrack. He was one of the 20th century’s finest filmmakers.
Satyajit Ray Biography
Ray was a singleton whose father passed away in 1923. His grandfather was a writer and illustrator, and his father wrote and illustrated Bengali absurd verse. Ray’s mother raised him in Calcutta (now Kolkata), where he grew up. He attended a government school, where he was primarily instructed in Bengali, and then attended the Presidency institution, the premier institution in Calcutta, where he was instructed in English. By 1940, when he graduated, he was proficient in both languages. In 1940, his mother persuaded him to attend art school at Rabindranath Tagore’s rural university located north of Calcutta, Santiniketan. There, Ray, whose interests had previously been exclusively urban and Western, was exposed to Indian and other Eastern art and acquired a deeper appreciation for both Eastern and Western culture, a combination that is evident in his films.
Ray had long been an ardent moviegoer, and his growing interest in the medium led to his first attempts at writing screenplays and cofounding the Calcutta Film Society in 1947. The French director Jean Renoir, who was filming The River in Bengal in 1949, encouraged Ray to pursue his cinematic aspirations. The success of Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief (1948), a film with a depressing plot and sparse production values (location filming with nonprofessional actors), persuaded Satyajit Ray to endeavour to film Pather Panchali.
The career and accomplishments of Satyajit Ray:
Satyajit began his professional career as a novice visualiser at the British advertising agency D.J. Keymer, earning 80 rupees per month. Even though Ray was regarded well at the organisation, there was a disparity between the British and Indian employees as a result of the tension between the British and Indian employees.
Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit’s first film, garnered eleven international awards and the inaugural award for Best Human Document at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. Feluda, the Sleuth, and Professor Shonku are two of Satyajit’s most well-known fictional scientists. Satyajit Ray’s Tarini Khuro, the storyteller, and Lalmohan Ganguly, the novelist, are also well-known fictional characters.
Throughout his career, Satyajit has won numerous awards, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, two Silver Bears, and numerous other accolades at international film festivals and ceremonies, as well as an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. Ray was also awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the Government of India in 1992.
Satyajit Ray was honoured with numerous accolades, including 36 National Film Awards from the Government of India and awards at international film festivals. In 1979, at the eleventh Moscow International Film Festival, he was awarded the Honourable Prize for contributions to cinema. Only four filmmakers have won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival more than once, and he retains the record for the most Golden Bear nominations. In 1982, he received the Golden Lion Honorary Award at the Venice Film Festival and the “Hommage à Satyajit Ray” award at the Cannes Film Festival. He received the Padma Bhushan in 1965 and the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour, shortly before his demise.
In 1992, the Sight & Sound Critics’ Top Ten Poll ranked him seventh among the “Top 10 Directors” of all time, making him the highest-ranking Asian filmmaker in the poll. In 2002, the Sight & Sound Critics’ and Directors’ Poll ranked him as the fourth finest director of all time, placing him at No. 22 on its list of the greatest directors of all time.
The real-life romance of Satyajit Ray was a typical Bollywood drama. Manik (Satyajit Ray) and Bijoya (Ray’s wife) dated for eight years, secretly married, and then devised a cunning plot to convince the two families to approve of their union. Ray was younger than Bijoya and a close relative, so they decided at first not to marry. However, fate had other plans in store. When Bijoya relocated to Mumbai for better filmmaking opportunities, Ray frequently wrote love letters and travelled from Kolkata to meet his fiancée.
As time passed, their relationship grew stronger, and they eventually realised that marriage was inevitable. Satyajit Ray and Bijoya Ray chose a marriage by registration in Mumbai without informing their families. The legendary theatre and film actor Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife blessed the newlyweds at a modest reception. When it did occur, they were divided between joy and agony because they were forced to keep their marriage a secret. Ray revealed everything to their family friend and physician, Nosho Babu, who devised a cunning scheme to persuade Ray’s mother to consent to the marriage.
After much persuasion, Ray’s mother eventually agreed, and the couple remarried on March 3, 1949, according to Bengali traditions. Bijoya Ray was involved with Ray in every conceivable manner, beginning with ‘Pather Panchali’ and ending with his passing.
Facts about Satyajit Ray
- Ray’s films have been honoured with 32 National Awards.
- In 1987, the President of France presented Ray with the Légion d’honneur.
- In 1962, Ray produced Kanchenjunga, the first Bengali colour film.
- Before entering the film industry, Ray worked as a graphic designer and designed covers for publications such as Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Discovery of India.
- Pather Panchali, his first film, took three years to complete and was produced on a shoestring budget.
- Ray co-founded the Calcutta Cinema Society with other cinema historians and contemporaries in 1947.
- Ray was the first Indian to be awarded the prestigious Oscar. The Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement was bestowed upon him.
- The Government of India awarded Ray the Bharat Ratna before his passing.