Ray's best

CLASSIC WATCH Movie: Pather Panchali Director: Satyajit Ray

Here's a antediluvian flick from the 1950's which is a gem of Indian cinema — Pather Panchali (song of the little road).

The movie — based on a Bengali literary classic by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and directed by the legend of Indian cinema Satyajit Ray — is a luminous revelation of Indian life in a language that the world can understand. It uses the language of eyes and emotions which make you envisage that it's real.

Reflection of life

Ray, influenced by the Italian neo-realism in the films of Jean Renoir and Vittorio de S, made this masterpiece. To be frank there is no story in it; it portrays the ordinary life of a typical poor family (comprising 80 per cent of the Indian population at that time).

The husband is unruffled, not bothered about the family, and at times, inefficient. The housewife worries about the pay he gets, providing for the family, their kids and their upbringing. One of the best characters in the film is the aunt who mesmerises the audience in that role.

The story is all about their livelihood, how they survive, how they pay for life at the cost of their deaths. Undergoing all this emotional and financial turmoil they still sustain hope. Tragedy does not make you feel bad but makes you more sensible and realistic, with a haunting rhapsodic soundtrack by Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Despite odds

During the making of the film, Ray faced many difficulties almost similar to the ones characters of his film faced. He had no financial support; he kept waiting for the government loan which finally was approved from the government of Bengal. At one point, he even sold his wife's jewellery and made the film using the leftover reels and clubbing them together.

This film showed the world the standard of Indian cinema. It won the ‘best human document' award at the Cannes film festival in 1956.


B.E. Mechanical, SRM University

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