Overview for Portrait of a Director: Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was Indiaâ€™s first filmmaker to gain international recognition as a master of the medium, and today he continues to be regarded as one of the worldâ€™s finest directors of all time. His first film Pather Panchali, made when he was in his thirties, catapulted him into the forefront of young directors worldwide when in 1956 the Cannes Film Festival honoured it as the â€˜best human documentâ€™ of the year. Several other films by Ray, like Aparajito, Jalsaghar, Charulata, Nayak, Aranyer Din Ratri, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Ghare Baire and Agantuk, made over a career spanning five decades, are considered classics of contemporary cinema. In 1992, Ray was awarded the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science and, in the same year, was also honoured with the Bharat Ratna. First compared with Robert Flaherty for his lyrical use of nature and locations, Ray is now regarded as one of the great neo-realist directors. From the beginning he rejected the established path of Indian film production, declaring at the age of six: â€˜Iâ€™ll go to Germany and come back and make films.â€™ He absorbed a remarkably broad culture from his family which had interesting literary, artistic and musical inclinations. With his extraordinary persistence and capacity for work, he simultaneously equipped himself with such thoroughness that he was able to create a masterpiece in his very first film. Marie Setonâ€™s classic study of Ray, the product of thorough research and a long and close association with the Ray family, is the most detailed examination available of Rayâ€™s workâ€”as musician, scenarist and director. First published in 1971, it was last updated in 1978, some fourteen years before Ray passed away. This new and revised edition includes unpublished pieces from the authorâ€™s further writings on Ray, and an Afterword that takes the story forward to Rayâ€™s last film. It will, hopefully, re-introduce the genius of Ray to a whole new generation of readers and film aficionados.
Marie Seton (Author)
Marie Seton is remembered for her exhaustive biographies of Paul Robeson, Sergei Eisenstein and Satyajit Ray. A Padma Bhushan awardee, she passed away in 1985.