New Delhi: May 2 marks the 91st birth anniversary of legendary auteur Satyajit Ray, considered one of the world's best. Many consider the visionary and extremely talented Ray to have inherited the legacy of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
He was not just a film director but also a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and music composer. The illustrious Ray family has contributed to Bengal's art, culture and music for over a century.
Ray was the son of poet and author Sukumar Ray and grandson of legendary writer Upendrakishore Roychowdhury. He graduated from the Presidency College of Kolkata and enrolled himself into the Visva-Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore and trained under such masters as Nandalal Bose and Benod Behari Mukherjee.
He was not just a film director but also a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and music composer.
He started his career as a graphic artist before heading to London to realise his passion for filmmaking and getting an opportunity to see timeless classics of masters such as Vittorio De Sica. Ray directed 36 films which included several documentaries and short films as well. As a writer, Ray was the avant garde of popular science fiction and detective novels. He immortalized the character of Pradosh C Mitra, the suave Bengali detective with an international touch to his crime solving methods.
Ray's ability to buck the trend, coupled with a strong subject matter and simple story telling helped him to churn out classics which are considered benchmarks for world class movies. Ray is India's first and only Oscar-winning director. His timeless classics 'Apu Triology', 'Jalsaghar', 'Sonar Kella', 'Charulata', and 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi' captured the attention of movie buffs both nationally and internationally.
Born on May 1, 1921, Ray received the prestigious Academy Award for lifetime achievement at a very late stage of his life. His son Sandip said in an interview Ray wanted very badly to collect the Oscar himself, but couldn't due to his illness.
The academy has undertaken to restore damaged prints of the films of Ray, who received the honour on his death bed in a hospital in Kolkata.
Ray shot to global fame with 'Pather Panchali', 'Aparajito' and 'Apur Sansar' from his 'Apu trilogy' -- a coming-of-age narrative describing the childhood, education and early maturity of a young Bengali boy in the early 20th century. 'Pather Panchali' won 11 international prizes, including Best Human Document at Cannes.
He directed dozens of films, including feature films and documentaries, and wrote numerous books, some of which have been translated into English, German and Spanish.
Ray, seen as one of the world's greatest directors, died before he could translate several of his popular books into films. He immortalised many characters from his books and brought them alive on the big screen. His son is now restoring his old documents, original illustrations and scripts. (With inputs from agencies)