Remembering the legendary filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, on his 101th birth anniversary

Apart from being an Oscar-winning director, he was also a screenwriter, author, lyricist, essayist, magazine editor, illustrator and a calligrapher, in short, the most creative person in the room.
Remembering the legendary filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, on his 101th birth anniversary
Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray

CHENNAI: Satyajit Ray, is a Bengali filmmaker and was known to be the first ever filmmaker to be recognised in the world platform. He was the one who put Indian films on the world map.

Apart from being an Oscar-winning director, he was also a screenwriter, author, lyricist, essayist, magazine editor, illustrator and a calligrapher, in short, the most creative person in the room.

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Satyajit Ray is celebrated for works such as Pather Panchali, the Apu Trilogy, the Music Room, the Big city and Charulatha.

He has the utmost ability to tell a story that involves all the pain and sufferings of humanity. Actors in his films do not act but bring them to life. Most of his films are known for his incompatible portrayal of women. Even at the Cannes festival, Ingmar Bergman asked Ray from where he discovered the heroine of the film Devi, Sharmila Tagore, as her eyes haunted Bergman even in his dreams.

A movement called ‘Parallel Movement’ which is similar to the ‘French New Way Movement’ was started by Satyajit Ray in India. Parallel movement is nothing but creating movies or using cinema to depict art or express art rather than commercializing them. But the movement worked well for other countries when compared to India.

Let’s see what other film auteurs and enthusiasts around the world have spoken about him and his films.

1) Akira Kurosawa (Japanese Filmmaker)

"The quiet but deep observation, understanding, and love of the human race, which are characteristic of all his films, have impressed me greatly.I feel that he is a “giant” of the movie industry. Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon. I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it (Pather Panchali). It is the kind of cinema that flows with the serenity and nobility of a big river. People are born, live out their lives, and then accept their deaths. Without the least effort and without any sudden jerks, Ray paints his picture, but its effect on the audience is to stir up deep passions. How does he achieve this? There is nothing irrelevant or haphazard in his cinematographic technique. In that lies the secret of his excellence.”

2) Martin Scorsese (American film director)

"I was a kid, I was living in the Lower East Side and the first film that I really saw about India was Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray. And I realised it was a film that was made by Indians for Indians for the world, not through other cultures and it brought me to learn about the rest of the world. The few interactions I had with Ray are memories I treasure."

3) Wes Anderson (American filmmaker)

"I wanted to make a movie in India. I wanted to go to India and learn about the country. I had become fascinated with India, really from movies. Particularly the movies of film-maker Satyajit Ray." In 2007, he directed a movie called "The Darjeeling Limited" in tribute to Satyajit Ray.

4) Alexander Payne (American filmmaker)

"I watch older films mostly. I recently saw 'The Music Room' (1958) by Indian director Satyajit Ray. It was a jaw dropper, an unbelievable movie."

5) Christopher Nolan (British-American filmmaker)

"I have had the pleasure of watching Mr. Ray's 'Pather Panchali' recently, which I hadn't seen before. I think it is one of the best films ever made. It is an extraordinary piece of work."

6) Keanu Reeves (Canadian actor)

"My only understanding of India was through the Satyajit Ray films I watched in film festivals. They are incredible. That's how I perceive India - real, warm and unaffected."

7) Elia Kazan (American film and theatre director)

"If he (Satyajit Ray) were in Hollywood, he would have proved a tough challenge for all of us."

8) Francis Ford Coppola (American film director)

"Whenever someone speaks from Kolkata, I remember Satyajit Ray's call, praising me for Godfather I."

9) Richard Attenborough (English actor)

"I was honoured that one of the world's greatest directors was eager to direct me. I submitted myself totally to him and found him to be a true actor's director. His sense of script and details are unparalleled."

Even today, a lot of people feel that if movies were produced in a similar style, India would be an important country in the world map of cinema industries.

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