When we talk about Indian cinema it is incomplete without Satyajit Ray. So understanding Indian cinema through his lens via his films.
Satyajit Ray is one of the most powerful well-known filmmakers who happen to be also the godfather of Indian cinema. His films even though independent attract a much wider commercial audience. The stories, characters, feelings in his films go beyond the restrictions of time and space. The films are as valid today as they were when they were made, like being evergreen. The world of ray’s cinema is so that you will always find yourself in it. Starting his career as a commercial artist, Ray drew towards the art of independent filmmaking. After meeting the French filmmaker Jean Renoir and viewing Vittorio De Sica’s Italian neorealist film Bicycle Thieves (1948) during a visit to London something changed in him.
Some of his must-watch are
The Apu Trilogy
Three films in a series showcasing the life of Apu and hence India he was living in different stages of his life. The three movies are ‘Pather Panchali’, Aparajito’, ‘Apur Sansar’.
This film revolves around a lonely housewife Charu, who is married to a wealthy man Bhupati, who spends most of his time in his local newspaper office. So, he asks his cousin Amal to give his wife company, and hence the series of love and loss starts.
Arati is a middle-class married woman from Kolkata. Because of increasing financial pressure she takes up her first job. However, her husband slowly grows insecure about her growing success.
Bimala is happily married woman to a forward-thinking man who encourages her to educate herself. But their relationship is challenged when Sandip, a radical man, enters into their lives.
This film combines 3 segments of a story with common central characters joining all three stories. Adapted from ‘Rabindranath Tagore‘ stories and made it to screen.
It is a film that becomes a brilliant male character study. In this, the thick line between conventional and unconventional narrative blends smoothly. The film shows a train journey and it becomes a perfect poetic analogy for the changing background in each character’s life.
This tells the story of a girl Dayamoyee, who was forcefully married to Umaprasad. As the village starts worshipping her, she starts believing that she is actually an incarnation of Goddess Kaali and is to be worshipped. Her husband tries to tell her otherwise and then a tragedy strucks.
It is all about a dissolute zamindar counting his last days listening to music and hosting spectacles irrespective that his assets and property needs protection.
While driving through a small town, Amitabha’s car breaks down. Bimal, a tea planter, helps him and invites him over to his house. Reaching the house Amitabha learns that Bimal’s wife is the woman he was in love with.
Shatranj Ke Khilari
Set in the time of the British annexation of Avadh, best friends Mirza Ali and Mir Ali abandon their families over their growing obsession for playing the game of chess.
The film is a story revolving around a jobless graduate. His financial constraints cause him to hallucinate about success.
Manmohan Mitra is an explorer who returns to India after 35 years to his only surviving relative, his niece. To whom he has never seen or ever met. However, she and her husband refuse to believe him or accept him.
Two (a short film)
Two: A Film Fable is 1964, a black-and-white short film directed by the Indian director Satyajit Ray. The film was under the banner of Esso World Theater at the request of a non-profit American public broadcasting television, PBS. It is added to be as part of a trilogy of short films from India.
From his first film Pather Panchali to Agantuk he made overall 36 films during his lifetime. These comprise 29 feature films, five documentaries, and two short films. He died in 1992, leaving a huge legacy behind him and inspiring many towards the art of film-making. Amongst those are names like Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, James Ivory, François Truffaut, and Carlos Saura.