When Francois Truffaut then a film critic first viewed “Pather Panchali” (Song of The Road) he severely criticised it. He found the film too slow and initially meaningless. After viewing it a second time he was compelled to change his decision and applauded the cinematic efforts of debutant director Satyajit Ray.
“Pather Panchali” won The Best Human Document Award at Cannes in 1955 creating history. More than six decades after its release, it is considered one of the most important films in the annals of motion pictures.
On Ray’s birth anniversary falling on May 2, Ray Society and Harper Collins India will be launching the original story board of “Pather Panchali”. Sandip Ray says, “It is a dossier of Pather Panchali . The original story board version was prepared by my father in sketch form. He conceptualised and created it to convince producers as to how he intended to shoot Pather Panchali . Later he gifted it to Cinemathesque at Paris.”
Influenced by Vittorio De Sica’s neo realism, “Pather Panchali” changed the entire concept of Indian cinema. Reality mingled with lyricism, light and shade and heart touching human elements were the film’s highlights.
Sandip Ray adds, “Resier Lotte Eisner wrote an excellent article on Pather Panchali in the Cannes Diary. Reviews of true merit from Sight and Sound , The Statesman , Desh , Hindustan Standard and other leading publications of that era will be included along with the story board. Rich tributes and comments by Akira Kurosawa, Francois Truffaut, John Huston and Martin Scorsese form other important aspects. There are statements by Uma Das Gupta (Durga) and Subir Banerjee (Apu) about performing in Pather Panchali.”
To make the dossier a reader’s delight, a letter by John Renoir has been included. “Pather Panchali” was first preserved by Academy of Motion Pictures but some of its negatives were damaged in a fire. Later Criterion Films preserved and restored the Apu Trilogy with latest technology.
The book launch, at ICCR, Kolkata, will be followed by an interactive session on Satyajit Ray.
The speakers include Sharmila Tagore, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Barun Chanda and Pradip Mukherjee –– actors discovered by Ray.