Satyajit Roy - Bengal’s gift to India and the World. Satyajit Ray’s death was not merely a national tragedy; it was a great disaster in the cultural field of the world. After Rabindranath Tagore, he was the last glorious representative of Bengal renaissance. Satyajit Ray was much more than India’s greatest filmmaker. In the history of cinema there are some directors whom we call legendary figures – since their names live through the legend of cinema, leaving a permanent impression. Undoubtedly, Satyajit Ray was one of them.
Born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in an aristocratic and intellectual family in 1921, Satyahit Ray showed an immense love for drawing and painting from his boyhood. His father, a great master of nonsense verse, Sukumar Ray, died when he was only two years old. Graduating from Calcutta University (CU) on 1940, he went to Shantiniketan and learnt to paint under the eyes of Binodebehari & Nandalal Bose. He didn’t complete the course. In 1943, he took a job of layout artist in a British Advertising agency. His sense of Visual Design and involvement in the world of cinematic art got a proper exit during his tenure in this foreign agency. Satyajit perhaps inherited an instinct of great creativity blended with a profound genius that rightly claimed a place in history. The great job started with ‘Pather Panchali’ that rightfully received national and international acclaim. Encouraged, Satyajit Ray left the job of advertising and devoted himself fulltime to filmmaking.
The story of Apu needed a talent like Ray to lend itself the liveliness that the author Bibhuti Bhushan sought to bring forth into his writings. Apu Trilogy – Pather Panchali, Aparajita and Apur Sansar by Ray came as a fascinating blend of the songs and sounds of blooming childhood and youth with the pathos of devastated life, and yet highlighting the immortality of human soul. Then came one after another – most of which won national and international acclamations – Parash Pathar, Jalsaghar, Devi, Kanchanjangha, Mahanagar, Charulata, Nayak, Tin Kanya, Jana Aranya, Satraj k Khiladi, Ghare Baire, Asani Sanket etc. His ’Hirak Rajar Deshey’, ‘Sonar Kella’ and ‘Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne’ were enormously popular childrens’ film. Satyajit was not only a great film director of the world; he was a great writer and composer of music too.
During his life time honors kept pouring in. Oxford conferred on him an honorary D.Litt. France honored him with the Legion of Honors which was personally handed over by their president Mitterand on the lawns of Calcutta’s National Library. Lastly came the Oscar, the most –sought-after award in the film world from the American Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Science. Govt of India honored him with Bharat Ratna . At his death Bengal nay India lost a man of candid outlook, versatile sagacity, courageous thoughts and outstanding personality with full vision of life.