Film Education

Why is Satyajit Ray’s cinema great

Why is Satyajit Ray’s cinema great

Moments of Truth !

A mother affectionately running after her son to eat his food… a sister playfully forcing her brother’s eyelids open to wakeup…experiencing the wonder and excitement of the train for the first time, before it arrives….enjoying the sensuous fall of raindrops on mortal flesh …an old aunt narrating ancient tales coming to life with shadows on the wall….ripples in the lake sealing the lid to a secret.

These are unforgettable moments in Pather Panchali. Why ? They are filled with sensitive observations of life and with one gesture, one image, one word ….a world external and internal is revealed. These moments make you experience the truth of living. These moments not just tell you the story but make the story be experienced. You enter into Satyajit Ray’s film Pather Panchali not with your mere senses of vision and listening but with your heart and soul.

The yearning of a mother for her son in Aparijito

The tender love between a couple and the husband’s coming to terms with his wife’s  death in Apu Sansar

The restless, playful and longing Charulata

Satyajit Ray’s films don’t leave you with a pessimist frustration but usually with a ray of hope.

Most of Satyajit Ray’s films go beyond merely looking realistic, but they feel realistic’ and in that truth lies its power!

Oorvazi Irani


27 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ah you say so much in less words.
Ray’s films make you want to be in them,I’d happily spend the rest of my entirety living through the making his films!
Thank you for this update!

Comment by Dirty Rhymes

Glad you liked it 🙂

Comment by oorvazi

making of his*
I’m sorry about the name it comes with the website filling thing!

Comment by Mamta

Amazing observations ….. In fact I still remember the starting sequence of Charulata ….it’s like a guide to film making….. there are no dialogue, no music …. but still it manages to speak a lot ….

Comment by Gaurav Ail

Thanks Gaurav for being part of my blog and following its posts !

Comment by oorvazi

Short and sweet!
Once again Oorvazi ma’am at her lucid best.

One more thing i would like to add is that I feel Ray’s film were about simple yet the most beautiful things about life. Though the films might be in Bengali but there’s not much scope of anything getting lost in translation because he dealt with basic human emotions, characters, stories which can transcend any linguistic or geographical barrier and appeal to basic human sensibilities in all its shades of joy and melancholy.
Thanks Ma’am for this sojourn in the cinematic land of Satyajit Ray!

Comment by sowrik

Thanks Sowrik !
Yes I did not want to make it an academic piece but more true to the mould of this column which is ‘film musing’. Glad you liked it.More on Ray soon.

Comment by oorvazi

It’s really unfortunate that other than Pather Panchali, I still haven’t experienced the cinema of Ray. But Oorvazi you are right…I felt a part of the story while seeing Pather Panchali… the subtlety with which Ray sketched out all his character and took the story forward, somehow touches you deep within, it definitely leaves an impression, which is there to last forever…looking forward to see and experience the joy of Ray’s films soon 🙂
And thanks Oorvazi for introducing me to his Cinema 🙂
BTW loved the way you wrote this piece…

Comment by Shweta

Thanks so much Shweta 🙂 for the appreciation

Comment by oorvazifilmeducation

He made a new path of subtle aesthetics and satwik detailing of emotions.He believed its the Indian way of persuing art. But some how I like khatak’s social intervention than Ray’s perfection and beauty.

Comment by satheesh mullakkal

thanks for your comment

Comment by oorvazi

I still remember the first time I saw Pather Panchali in your class. It was an experience that I cant forget. It was my first Satyajit Ray’s film too. Your class and the movies (that you showed), made me see movies in different light. 🙂

The way you have put down the words and scenes, is beautiful and yes as you said that his films not just “look realistic but feel realstic”.

Wating for the interview.


Comment by Monica

Monica !

Lovely to hear from you. It feels so nice that I was able to introduce you to the world of Satyajit Ray. And in my course with my humble efforts made a difference in your cinematic experience.
The interview is coming soon !

Comment by oorvazifilmeducation

Its the same like asking why Rabindranath is one of the greatest Poet?

He wrote in his poem that he saw the whole world but couldn’t find so much of space & beauty which he saw in a dew drop in his childhood…thats Mr.Ray!

Do you knoe Ray’s father name, Baap Ray! and do you know his grandfather’s name, Baap Ray Baap!

Sorry Ma’am Bakwaas kardi thodi…

Comment by Agastya Kapoor

Thanks for reading the post!

Comment by oorvazifilmeducation

Good observations. Judicious comments.

Comment by Premendra Mazumder

Thank you so very much for your feedback 🙂

Comment by oorvazi

I still remember watching Apur Sansar, my first Satyajit Ray film, as a child with my father on a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon. Watching it more out of boredom than interest, i was completely oblivious to the impact it would have on me. To my delight, his subtlety gave rise to so many unanswerable questions that would torment me; his characters living beyond the duration of the film.

Needless to say, it opened up a whole new world of cinema to me where it was more about honesty and beauty rather than crass entertainment.

It’s sad that Indian filmmakers have not been able to uphold the great legacy he has left behind.
Oh yeah, and i love the first para.
It’s beautiful =)

Comment by Shalaka Pradhan

Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience and your first encounter with the cinema of Satyajit Ray. I loved your feedback 🙂

Comment by oorvazifilmeducation

Your post makes me want to watch the movie again.

Comment by Rasik

Thats a lovely compliment! I hope the second screening is revealing 🙂

Comment by oorvazi

As Kurosawa put it, “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.”

Comment by Abhijit Das

🙂 Thanks Abhijit for your feedback and visiting my blog

Comment by oorvazi

🙂 I know what you mean (thank god!). Feel totally stupid for having missed his films for so long! I’m a relatively new fan of Satyajit Ray. Just wrote a post and found yours while tag surfing

Comment by radhikaaz

No offense, but I personally don’t think he’s so great. That’s ought to evoke some reactions!

Comment by Rishi

I agree to disagree 🙂

I feel its important to be truthful to your own experience of a film and take a stand.

The debate on Pather Panchali in class was interesting and I feel something from the other side always stays with you.

But do see the rest of the Apu Trilogy, I feel some films that are considered classics is the business of a film student to see, read, experience and analyze.

I did not like Ray’s ‘Ganashatru’ as a film and found it quite ordinary but personally liked the sensitivity and poetic quality of the Apu trilogy.

My interview with Dilip Basu on Satyajit Ray might interest you, its in my professional speak section.

Comment by oorvazi

My favorite Satyajit Ray films are ‘Nayak’ and ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’. I have heard many people criticize Ray about the fact that many of his films are optimistic and give a feel good experience, and are hence unrealistic. I have only one question to them, is real life only full of misery? If it were so, then the world would have ended. If showing the miseries of people is realistic, then showing the positive sides like friendship, love, overcoming from miseries is equally realistic. Thanks for highlighting the usp of Ray’s movies in your short and crisp article 🙂

Comment by Riddhiman Basu

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