Tribute to Satyajit Ray, the great filmmaker of this century, on his 97th birth anniversary today.

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‘Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.’ said Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

Among the dozen or so great masters of world cinema, Satyajit Ray is known for his humanistic approach to cinema. He made his films in Bengali, a language spoken in West Bengal, the eastern state of India, and Bangladesh. And yet, his films are of universal interest. They are about things that make up the human race — relationships, emotions, struggle, conflicts, joys and sorrows.

Satyajit Ray’s films are both cinematic and literary at the same time; using a simple narrative, usually in a classical format, but greatly detailed and operating at many levels of interpretation.

His first film, Pather Panchali (Song of the little road, 1955) established his reputation as a major film director, winning numerous awards including Best Human Document, Cannes, 1956 and Best Film, Vancouver, 1958. It is the first film of a trilogy — The Apu Trilogy — a three-part tale of a boy’s life from birth through manhood. The other two films of this trilogy are Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959).

His later films include Jalsaghar (The Music Room, 1958), Devi (The Goddess, 1960), Teen Kanya (Two Daughters, 1961), Charulata (The Lonely Wife, 1964), Nayak (The Hero, 1966), Asani Sanket (Distant Thunder, 1973), Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Players, 1977), Ghare Baire (The Home and the World, 1984), Ganashatru (An Enemy Of The People, 1989) and Shakha Prashakha (Branches Of The Tree, 1991). Agantuk (The Stranger, 1991) was his last film.

Ray directly controlled many aspects of filmmaking. He wrote all the screenplays of his films, many of which were based on his own stories.

He designed the sets and costumes, operated the camera since Charulata (1964), he composed the music for all his films since 1961 and designed the publicity posters for his new releases.

In addition to filmmaking, Ray was a composer, a writer and a graphic designer.

Satyajit Ray died on April 23, 1992 at the age of 70, due to heart complications.

The world misses Satyajit Ray every day, without whom the history pages of Indian Cinema would have remained incomplete!

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