May 2 marks the birth anniversary of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray who is considered the godfather of Indian cinema. He was not just a film director but also a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and music composer.
Being India’s first and only Oscar-winning director, Ray started his career as a graphic artist before heading to London to realize his passion for filmmaking. He directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries, and telly films. He was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer, and film critic.
On April 23, 1992, Ray breathed his last but his brilliant legacy sure lives on.
A master of all
Ray was known to take on a multitude of tasks and singlehandedly deliver perfectly on them. He was not just a film director but also a writer, illustrator, graphic designer, and music composer.
After the release of Nayak, he began to do screenplays, camera operations, set-design, wardrobe, title credits, publicity posts, and more, solo. Actors who worked with him all stated that Ray worked as art-director and part-acting coach, going over scenes enough times to his satisfaction and sometimes even acting as the make-up man for them.
Delved into genres all possible
Ray delved into the genres of fantasy, science fiction, detective dramas and historical dramas in his later years. After the famous Apu Trilogy, Satyajit Ray experimented with genres. He also went on to make films on the British Raj period, various documentaries including one on Rabindranath Tagore and even comedies like Mahapurush.
Showcased not politics but reality of times
Ray never took a religious or political stand in any of the stories. Instead, he chose to simply showcase the reality of the times through his cinema, be it the devastating climate of a post-famine colonial Bengal in Panther Panchali or the fervor of misguided nationalism that served as the background of Ghare Baire.
Ray was awarded the Legion of honor by the French President in 1987. His films bagged 32 national awards by the Government of India, out of while 6 are of Best Director.
He was also bestowed with honorary Doctorate by Oxford University, the second film celebrity to receive the honor after Charlie Chaplin.