Remembering Satyajit Ray: The first Indian to receive an honorary Oscar

Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 10:08
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    Legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921. His father Sukumar died when Satyajit was barely three, and the family survived on his mother Suprabha's meagre income (All photos/mid-day archives)

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    In his early years, Satyajit Ray worked in a publishing house, and designed covers for many books, including Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India.

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    Satyajit Ray focused his attention on independent filmmaking after a meeting with French filmmaker Jean Renoir. Watching Vittorio De Sica's Italian neorealist 1948 film Bicycle Thieves also inspired him in this direction.

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    Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit Ray's first film, won international acclaim, including the Best Human Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival.

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    Satyajit Ray went on to make Aparajit (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959), which completed the The Apu Trilogy.

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    Satyajit Ray won the National Award for the Best Director six times, the most by any filmmaker.

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    Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) was the only Hindi feature film Satyajit ever directed. Sadgati (1981), was also made by him, but it was primarily for TV.

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    In 1992, the Academy Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to Satyajit Ray, who became the first Indian to receive an Honorary Oscar. Being gravely ill, Ray was unable to attend the ceremony. He passed away less than a month after receiving the honour, on April 23, 1992.

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    The Indian government honoured Satyajit with the Bharat Ratna in 1992.

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    In 2010, Martin Scorsese candidly admitted that Steven Spielberg's ET was inspired by Satyajit Ray's The Alien.

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    Dibakar Banerjee's short film in Bombay Talkies, which has been made to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema, is inspired by a short story written by Satyajit Ray. The story, Patol Babu, Film Star, was about a middle-aged man, who gets his moment of fame playing a bit role in a movie.

  • Satyajit Ray

    One for the ages: Legendary filmmakers Satyajit Ray, Michelangelo Antonioni and Akira Kurosawa at the Taj Mahal. In 1992, Ray was posthumously awarded the Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which was accepted on his behalf by Sharmila Tagore.

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    As a tribute to Satyajit Ray on one of his birth anniversaries, search engine Google created this doodle, with a scene from his legendary film Pather Panchali. Pic courtesy Google

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About The Gallery

On the death anniversary of the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, we remember the veteran by revisiting some interesting facts about him