Remembering Satyajit Ray, the great visionary filmmaker, on his birth anniversary today, May 02.
Often considered as one of the greatest filmmakers, Satyajit Ray is one of those responsible for putting India on the global map. Filmmaker unparalleled, Ray has amazed the world with his movies and films.
His most famous work, Pather Panchali, which was also his first film, was released in the year 1955.
Pather Panchali made Satyajit Ray known to the world, winning him eleven international prizes. At the 1956 Cannes Film Festival in France, Pather Panchali also won the inaugural Best Human Document award – Ray’s first film to win international acclaim.
With feature films, documentaries, and shorts, he directed a total of 36 films in his lifetime.
While he was a household name among Bengalis, owing to most of his movies which were made in Bengali, Ray also directed one Hindi film.
His only feature film in Hindi is Shatranj Ke Khiladi, which he directed in 1977.
Winning awards was not new for Ray, who made it big with his first movie, Pather Panchali. With six National Awards, Ray became the only director to win so many awards for Best Director so far.
He has won 32 National Awards in total by the Government of India.
In 1987, Ray was awarded the Legion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) by the President of France.
Oxford University also awarded an honorary doctorate to late director Satyajit Ray.
The Last Phase
In 1983, while working on Ghare Baire, Ray suffered a heart attack; it would severely limit his productivity in the remaining 9 years of his life.
Ghare Baire was completed in 1984 with the help of Ray’s son (who operated the camera from then on) because of his health condition.
In 1992, Ray’s health deteriorated due to heart complications. He was admitted to a hospital, but never recovered.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him an Honorary Academy Award. Ray is the first and the only Indian, yet, to receive the honor.
Twenty-four days before his death, Ray accepted the award in a gravely ill condition, calling it the “Best achievement of [his] movie-making career.” He died on 23 April 1992.