What a fortuity! Satyajit Ray's 92nd birthday and 100 years of Indian Cinema
If there was one man, who single handedly placed the Indian cinema it was Satyajit Ray who in his own imitable way, by leveraging on the rich cultural edifice that our country is endowed with, created awareness about India, and could be rather called as the first brand Manager for "Incredible India", by using the cinematic lens to weave patina of stories. It indeed, therefore, is fortuitous that his 92nd birthday - today coincides with 100 years of celebration of Hindi cinema, as Satyajit Ray was born for cinema and he lived, breathed and died for cinema. It also is no coincidence then, that BOMBAY TALKIES which has released today encapsulating 100 years if journey that Hindi cinema has traversed, also includes a story written by Satyajit Ray, which has been directed by Dibakar Banerjee.
Today when Hindi cinema is celebrating its centenary year, some may air the view that Satyajit Ray did not contribute much to the world of Hindi cinema, so why should his name be included in association with this list? The answer to this innate query lies in the fact that though most of the films that Satyajit Ray made were in Bengali, his vision was pan-Indian and through the rich oeuvre that he created he gave platform for quite a lot of Bengal actors to try out their mettle in the world of cinema, most such celebrity example being Sharmila Tagore, whose career began under the baton of Manik Da, as he was called by those who were closely associated with him.
He was a complete package, a writer, a painter, a cinematographer, an illustrator, and above all a comic book writer, and may be that is the reason why a popular search engine today has paid a tribute to him by creating a black and white doodle in his memory. The doodle that has been created has been taken from his first black and white film, PATHER PANCHALI which when was released went on to receive awards all around the world, including being conferred with the award of Best Human Document at Cannes. The Doodle represents the famous scene where Apu is running along with his sister parallel to the railway line and the thick lush flowering of reed providing an interesting contrast of canvas to explain perhaps the feeling of joyousness. As a matter of fact Ray was master when dealing with children and addressing the issues associated with children was concerned, and in nearly all his films children had played an important role. The only Hindi film that he had made was SHATRANJ KE KHILADI, which again was a critically acclaimed film and he was conferred with award for contribution to cinema at the Oscars in 1992 when he was critically ill.
To Satyajit Ray goes the credit of creating India's own Sherlock Holmes in the form of Feluda, whose popularity may be manifest from the fact that now it is available in Braille as well. It was the immense popularity that Feluda enjoyed has perhaps been the source of inspiration for his son, Sandeep Ray, to carry on publishing Feluda even after Manik Da's death.
Satyajit Ray had an integral relationship with Pandit Ravi Shankar who had given music in quite a large number of films that Ray made. Ray was associated with making of 36 films, and the famous ones included CHARULATA, NAYAKA, ARANYEDINRAATRI etc.
Greatness of Satyajit Ray lay in the fact that he was totally committed to cinema. When he began his career, he did not had money so he used to work at a job from Monday to Saturday and shoot the film on Sundays so it took him three years to complete PATHER PANCHALI, but when it was released he had made the mark. What stood out in PATHER PANCHALI was the train scene cooing away in a mooned with Apu and his sister running after the train and the reed flowers swaying in gay abandon. Ray was perhaps the first advertisement professional who walked over to the world of cinema and the benchmark that he set for his followers continues to inspire and keeps on prodding more and more advertising professionals to give shape to the film which is in their minds while working in the advertising world.
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