Born on 2 May 1922, Satyajit Ray, is known to all as a director par excellence. A writer, creator of two immortal characters of Bengali literature – Feluda and Professor Shanku, Ray is less known as a musician. Talent galore, this dropout of the prestigious Economics department of Presidency College had no financial  backers for his first film which went on to become a cult movie – Pather Panchali. A master craftsman, he gave cinema some of the finest actors, viz Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore, brought out a different side to the reigning king of Bengali cinema, Uttam Kumar in Nayak and Chiriyakhana. From overtly political messages in his films to sci-fi fantasy stories, Satyajit Ray has done it all. It is widely acclaimed that Steven Spielberg borrowed the concept of E.T. from Ray’s short story “Bankubabur Bandhu”.

Ray had his unique style. He sketched every shot on his worksheet before shooting them. He could write about cities he never traveled to just by virtue of knowing the Bhraman Sangee (Bengali travel guide) by heart. Despite Byomkesh ruling the hearts of Bengalis, Ray’s Feluda is a classic growing up companion for Bongs. And must i not mention many Non Bengali speaking friends hooked to the adventures of the troika of Feluda, Topshe, Jatayu!

The first time i came across Ray, would be 1991. DD1 had a special telecast of Goopi Gyne, Bagha Byne. I vividly remember that summer night! It was a Sunday. Whole family watching the movie together. Me, being a “early to bed” boy, had enough sleep in the afternoon to last me through the whole film. But the West Bengal State Electricity Board failed us. Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne is and will always be my most favourite film made by Ray. Striking similarities of the plot with Tagore’s Raktakarabi, the film has a different appeal to different age groups. As you watch the film while growing up, you discover a new facet to it everytime you watch it. And having watched it more than 200 times by now, i have the whole screenplay by heart.

Another beautiful film by Ray, Charulata – based on Nashtaneer written by Tagore – still haunts me. The famous scene on the swing has been adopted by almost every director who made a period film based in Bengal (viz Parineeta). Madhabi’s dilemma, Soumitra’s persona scripted an unforgettable love story.

Debi, Kanchenjunga, Kapurush-Mahapurush, Aranyer Din Ratri, Sakha Proshaka, Agantuk, Hirak Rajar Deshe, Ganashatru, Ashani Sanket, Nayak…..the list of Ray’s masterpieces would never end. And i do not wish to prolong my monologue saying what has already been said.

Perhaps, Ray did not know that his words would once become the chant of praise showered on his genius.  Maharaja Tomaare Selam (Salutes to you, the King).

Maharaja Tomare Selaam

Orey Halla Rajar Sena, tora Juddho Kore korbi ki ta bol

Ek je chilo Raja

Most importantly Ray made us believe Dori Dhore Maaro Taan, Raja Hobe Khan Khan.

[P.S. DO NOT MISS THIS CLASSIC DANCE OF GHOSTS from Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne. Brilliant concept and marvelous execution]

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on May 2, 2011, in Art, film, kolkata and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Nice article. I don’t know much about Satyajit Ray. But I want to know about him. Being a Maharashtrian (Maharashtra and Bengal are siblings when it comes to literature, tradition and all) I am well versed with literature and all.. but want to know Bengali literature and details too.

    Thank you once again for sharing this wonderful post. I knew very few things about Satyajit Ray.. like his movie Pather Panchali which became cult in the industry and such small details.


  2. Ray has been a part of all bengali movie lovers since long… I grew up reading feluda and as a child wanted to become a detective as i grow up…

    i saw charulata for the first time when i was in the 9th standard… for mee it was love at first sight with amol… the love affair with soumitra chatterjee kept growing with every film of Ray…

    my life is incomplete without Ray… i realized it more after i joined SRFTI and started understanding his works from a different angle… heard so many stories from dukhi da ( assistant to subrata mitra)… loved your piece of writing… just felt that it should have went on and on and not ended so soon


  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the maestro..but I too agree with Sumana-di…it should have gone on a little more…would love to hear more and more from you about his other films as well. For me personally, I have started experiencing Ray’s genius in a more wholesome manner only recently, having seen Charulata, Apur Sansar, Kanchenjungha in their entirety only in the last 1/2 years…so I am still rediscovering Ray with each passing day…


  4. Wonderful post.

    I must admit I didn’t grew up with Ray’s movies. It was when my dad retired from Air Force and came back to Kolkata that I was introduced to his works.

    Regardless to say, I grew addicted.

    I am now a fan and I will always be his fan.

    Wonderful post bhai. Keep it up! 🙂


  5. Satyajit Ray is my favorite writer and director. reading RAYTROSCOPE was regathering his talented art and cherishing his work once more. thanks for sharing such post.


  6. Am a big fan of Ray… his movies are well… beyond praise!
    What I particularly enjoy however, are his numerous short stories… especially those which have a sudden unreal horror twist. I’d say he’s my favourite storyteller, irrespective of the medium.


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