100 years of Satyajit Ray: Manikda and the little songs of his cherished road

Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Yasujiro Ozu, François Truffaut. Physically, these filmmakers loosened up somewhat, but rest assured, their stature in world cinema has grown taller than ever. Satyajit Ray, standing at a height of 6.4 feet, on the other hand, was not just a giant tree of a man (to borrow an Akira Kurosawa description), but has also been overshadowed on Indian and international screens for over six decades, his leafy shadow falling. Wherever there is poetic realism and cinematic imagination.

Lean and Sharp, Ray – who started his career in advertising – was born on this day in 1921 in Calcutta into an indispensable creative family. His grandfather and father were men of many talents. His children also had something of the Bengal Renaissance, whose range of interests extended beyond cinema. A young Ray grew up in Hollywood films, so when his advertising agency sent him to London for higher training, he spent more and more of his time in the film company and began to “lose interest in advertising in the process” He once said in an interview.

During this trip, he saw Vittorio de Sica’s Cycle Thieves (1948) as a neo-realist Italian masterpiece of post-war despair and was thrilled by its sinister simplicity and humanism. In Calcutta, he heard that Jean Renoir was in town and went straight to the hotel where the great French filmmaker was staying someday to believe in his dream of making films. Renoir, who at the time was location-scouting for the river in Calcutta, encouraged the aspirant. And so began the journey of the small street song.
Ray’s landmark debut, Pather Panchali, was made in 1955 on a shoe-string budget with mostly non-professional artists. All the while, he climbed to his job for a safety net, even shooting who would become one of the classic Apu trilogies on the weekend. The lyrical Pather Panchali started the film world for the wide-eyed Apu born to crush poverty and desperation, but who, over time, grows into a bookish youngster, stirring in his mind and his breast Is an autobiographical book.

The Apu trilogy, which includes Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959), has been called Baldungsroman. And indeed, it is a coming of age that traces the life, learning and love of Apu, from his difficult but still magical childhood to adulthood. The film runs from village to town, tracking Apu’s personal predictions, all the time illuminated by Ravi Shankar’s persecuted sitar and flute issue, which is so deeply rooted in the trilogy’s core as a clay-scented seed Looks underlying.

Saumitra Chatterjee, Satyajit Rai Soumitra Chatterjee collaborated with Ray in some of his greatest films. Here, Ray can be seen with Chatterjee on the set of the Ashani crisis. (Express photo by Nemai Ghosh)

In Apur Sansar, Appu is played by Soumitra Chatterjee, who went on to become one of his biggest films to collaborate with Ray, in a sense Jean-Pierre Leude aka Antoine Donnell to François Truffaut. Apur is a scene in the world in which Appu (Chatterjee) narrates a brief outline of his novel to his friend Pulu. “A village boy.” Poor but sensitive. His father is a priest and he dies. The boy comes to the city He studies Through his education and struggle we see that he sheds his old superstitions and fixed ideas. He questions everything. Yet he has imagination and sensitivity. Small things move and delight her. He has greatness and the ability to create but he does not make it. He does nothing great and remains poor. But he is never far from life. “It completely covers Apu’s arc. We can be sure that if he had written the novel of his dreams, it would have been like Ray’s Apu trilogy – full of small, glowing joys, tremendous emotional pleasure and social strength. (Ray, a typical Bhadralok, once remarked that he identified the most with Apur Sansar of the three films, as Apu was now following intellectual aspirations).

Apu believes that his novel is not a tragedy. Nevertheless, as Apoorva Sansar moves on, the unsung hero is accompanied by his wife (Ether Sharmila Tagore, who had a Bengali hangover in early Bollywood, as she had an impressive rapport with producers such as Shakti Samanta, Aseem Sen and Hrishikesh Mukherjee). And his failure never to write the book, it is not difficult to think of his life as a tragedy. But in the climax, Apu is shown reconciliation with his son. Together, they set out on new beaten paths in search of new adventures with their rich blend of hope, knowledge, experience, comedy and adversity. Fortunately, the song of life will brighten their journey.

The Man From Calcutta

The Apu trilogy was an instant success. This marked a new era and cemented Ray’s status as an autism. There was a man here who clung to his roots in South Calcutta, from where he produced Bengali cinema, which was truly world-class, even though Hollywood had laid a red carpet for him. You can call Ray a suitable ambassador for the ‘local can be global’ ideology. An intense thinker, he distinguished his films with a personal worldview. Nearly all his memorable chief men were aggressive poets of the soul while the goddesses (Sharmila Tagore, Madhabi Mukherjee, Swatilaksh Sengupta) were museums of curiosities. Ray’s generation had a literary bent in Bengal. Gopal Krishna Gokhale said, “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.”

Ray invented the cinema of tomorrow to turn Bengali readers into wishful audiences. With intellectually engaging stories that had literary value as well as aesthetic appeal, otherwise they presented the activity of film-art as art. No wonder he wrote some original screenplays and instead graciously accepted literature, ranging from Vibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay and Tagore to Munshi Premchand and Shankar. Even Heinrich Ibsen. Erudite and Open were not insecure about drawing inspiration from Ray books. He once wrote that a filmmaker “can borrow his material, but he should color it with his experience of the medium.” Then, and only then the completed film will be his own, like Kalidasa’s Shakuntala is from Kalidas and not Vyas.

Women’s world

A painter as well as a temperament, Ray had a habit of sketching his mood board which served as a script. They were known for doing rigorous research and immersing themselves in the world they were building. And he created many uneven worlds, which suited his unimaginable curiosity and taste. Ray has always had a devoted audience in intellectual circles in his native West Bengal and elsewhere in India, though to many Indians it appears that he is essentially a Western phenomenon.

Pather Panchali “Pather Panchali was the first Ray film I’d ever seen, and like many cinema-addicted Indians, I saw it not in India, but in London,” confirms Salman Rushdie in Imaginary Homelands. (Photo: Express Collection)

For example, the legendary 1950s star Nargis was not a fan at all. He encouraged her to sell India’s “poverty to the world”. The truth is that the Apu trilogy had a grand reception in the West. A popular joke is that many Indians face their first rays either in film schools or abroad. “Pather Panchali was the first Ray film I’d ever seen, and like many cinema-addicted Indians, I saw it not in India, but in London,” confirms Salman Rushdie in Imaginary Homelands. Despite the success abroad, the app trilogy had more influence than anywhere else in India.

Bengal had a flowering of similar naturalism and age concerns until the 1960s, best reflected in the works of Ray’s rivals, Ritwik Ghatak, Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen. All were devoted to the depiction of the brutal social realities that held a mirror to society. Ray’s style was also reiterated by the parallel cinema of 1970s Bollywood, with its mentor Shyam Benegal saying of his mentor: “If Satyajit Ray has a single contribution to the world of Indian cinema, he will That would be the way. Indian cinema is designed to be free from self-reference and largely replicate themes from Hollywood. “

Apu trilogy is considered an achievement of Indian cinema today, but Ray’s came to be some of the most liked classics in the 1960s. More than ever, he was in complete control of his vision. Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Nastnirah, Charulata (1964) gave Madhavi Mukherjee a life-long role as a single wife revived by the arrival of her husband’s charming cousin. An unconventional woman takes on the will, Charulata breaks many barriers. In Apur Sansar, we see Apu teaching his wife Aparna (Sharmila Tagore). Coincidentally, Ray’s own mother expelled him from home before going to college.

In Charulata, Mukherjee’s elegant title heroine makes a temporary move to being a writer, due to her very daring awakening, both metaphorical and sexual. Mukherjee’s performance is sublime. She is able to balance the emotional struggle and yearning with unexpected grace, but the Indian public loves nothing more than an iconic pop culture moment. The detective scenes of Charu with a stunning pairing of Charu imprinted itself in the audience’s memory. It is an iconic ray moment – as well as another image from Mahanagar (1963) in which Mukherjee is helped by a female colleague of lipstick. With these small gestures and motifs, Ray subtly destroys the glass ceiling. If you are planning to watch or revisit Charulata, try joining up with Ghare Bayer from the 1980s, with Saumitra Chatterjee’s multi-wedded Bimala (Swatirekha Sengupta) again for Sandeep’s revolutionary charm . Like Mahanagar, who puts her heroine in the dilemma of living the old-fashioned modern way in ‘home and the world’, Ghare Bare is a classic clash of values. Mahanagar, Charulata and Ghare Bire are all powerful women who are committed to finally finding their voice.

Different topics of a polymath

Starting his film career in 1955 until his death in 1955 at the age of 70, Manikada was remarkably cheerful. Honored with an honorary Oscar just before his death, he returned to the side of American cinema by politely singing Old Hollywood virtues. Life had come a full circle. In fact, he was to create his ambitious sci-fi project for the American market called Alien. It never took off, although it was said to be inspired by Steven Spielberg’s ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. Ray was also a writer and critic, who brought great eccentricity and insight into his writing on cinema. Taking advantage of one film a year, he churned out stories of all stripes – the 1966 protagonist saw him teaming up with Sharmila Tagore with the heartthrob Uttam Kumar to see what happens when the film world collides with ordinary life Hai, the 1969 adventure Gopi Gange Bagha Bean was as much for children as it was for adults, the Pratibandhi of the 1970s expressed the anger of the middle class and finally, the 1990 Ganeshtru, about medical politics, relevant in today’s epidemic Formally relevant.

After a close look at the thriving feudal system in Bengal, he was only interested in the shameless and vanishing interests of the royal family. If the 1958 Jalsaghar (veteran Chhabi Biswas) exposed the hypocrisy of Jwalamukhi, his only Hindi film, Shatruj Ki Khilari (1977), was the final take on the decline of Awadh. However, like a true guru, Ray put his best to last. Agartuk of 1991 is one of his most intellectually stimulating films. In Utpal Dutt’s uncle, who surprises his niece, we find a character who is so developed and empowered that cinema cannot handle it. The stranger well known to the title is probably disillusioned with civilization, as author Sohini Chattopadhyay explains in an excellent essay from last year. But he plays along, even cheering the great human circus. First of all, everyone is out to prove him. In fact, he is nothing but a harmless, world-wide philosopher who has seen a lot of suffering and is hurt by the advancing nuclear threat that could provoke the apocalypse with the push of a button. Perhaps, this is just Ray talking at the end of his life. Master Polymath in his ultimate quest in tribal beauty and simplicity. Before departing for good, Dutt’s character leaves a gift for his beloved niece. Satyajit Ray has deprived us of something more precious than mere gifts – he has given us timeless ozone darts.

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