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‘Ray’ of Realism: Studying the Influence of Italian Neorealism on Satyajit Ray‘s Cinema

By:-

Anurag Meshram Roll No 080 PNR No 08050121016 AV Batch 2011 SIMC UG

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DECLARATION OF ORIGINAL WORK

This is to certify that the work that forms the basis of the research, ‘Ray’ of Realism: Studying the Influence of Italian Neorealism on Satyajit Ray’s Cinema, is original work and carried out and analyzed by me and has not been submitted anywhere else

I certify that all the sources of information and data used by me are fully acknowledged in the research.

Anurag Meshram Roll No 080 PNR No 08050121016 AV Batch 2011 SIMC UG

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INDEX Content……………………………………………………………………………Page No. Preface Aims & Objectives, Research Design 6 8

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INTRODUCTION Realism v/s Idealism Genesis of Italian Neorealism Understanding Italian Neorealism Italian Neorealism and Satyajit Ray

9-22 9 10 13 15 23 36 40-91 40 59 74 92-106 92 99 107 111

2. 3. 4.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE METHODOLOGY ANALYSIS

Pather Panchali Aparajito Apur Sansar 5. NEOREALISM IN INDIA POST RAY Neorealism and Ray‘s contemporaries Neorealism and New-Age Bollywood 6. CONCLUSION 7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alfred . Ray had started the process of brining about a paradigm shift in the formlaic Indian cinema. brought about an unique blend of eastern and western sensibilities that his cinematic style came to be recognized for. His close association with Rabindranath Tagore and involvement in the Bengali Renaissance combined with his exposure to a variety of foreign films and his interactions with cinematic geniuses such as Jean Renoir.‖ That is the reason why Satyajit Ray is often credited with introducing modern themes to the otherwise traditionbound Indian cinema Right from his debut film.Akira Kurosawa. Through his films.4 PREFACE "Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon. Ray chronicled the process of social change and the emerging ‗modern India‘.". In Ray‘s own words. Satyajit Ray is one of India‘s most admired and respected directors of all times. ―the modern is not conceived in terms of past. instead it emerges through a dynamic relationship with the post. A great compliment indeed from one great auteur to another. His films belong to a meta-genre that includes the works of Akira Kurosawa.

thus. John Ford. Jean Renoir. Ingmar Bergman. which can be regarded as the best example of the use of neorealistic aesthetics in Indian cinema. Ray truly brought in a ‗ray of realism‘ to Indian cinema. Federico Fellini. The introduction of neorealistic aesthetics and themes by Satyajit Ray‘s cinema and its further progress and popularity in the Indian context. Fritz Lang. Therefore. A brief encounter with Italian Neorealist films during his stay in London culminated into his first film. and ultimately into the Apu Trilogy.5 Hitchcock. Pather Panchali. I chose to study the influence of Italian Neorealism. . seemed to be an interesting area to explore for my graduate dissertation. Charles Chaplin. Amongst all of the Western influences on his cinema. as the title of the dissertation suggests. David Lean. Ritwik Ghatak and Robert Bresson. Yasujiro Ozu. Luis Bunuel.

post its introduction by Satyajit Ray‘s Apu Trilogy RESEARCH DESIGN Primary Sources: Content Analysis Interview Secondary Sources: Books Articles Documentary .6 AIMS & OBJECTIVES 1) To study the stylistic and thematic influences of Italian Neorealism on Sat yajit Ray‘s cinema 2) To study how Neorealism has grown and developed in India.

7 INTRODUCTION Realism v/s Idealism: the debate is never-ending. the interpretation of the ‗object‘ that the ‗subject‘ has. . gives it a meaning. It is a philosophy which acknowledges the presence of both the ‗subject‘ and the ‗object‘ and talks about the layers of interpretations and coding and decoding of meaning that takes place because of this interpretation. and hence it depends entirely on the definition of ‗perfection‘ that the subject has in his/ her mind. Realists believe every ‗object‘ has a reality of its own irrespective of the subject‘s interpretation of it. according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. In other words. passion and materialism Between these two extremes. realism is "the inclination towards literal truth and pragmatism" (ibid). Neorealism does not accept the total obliteration of subject that is espoused in realism. In stark contrast to this ideology. comes in Neorealism." A practice which takes into account the subject‘s thinking and intellect and thereby gives meaning to the object. things as they are. Realism. is thus about naked facts. idealism is about achieving perfection. The perception. Idealism. in essence. Neorealism is a step forward in realism and questions the ‗excessive objectivity‘ that realism talks about. Realism is all about accepting life as it is. means "The act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal form.

The neorealist aspiration is towards an objective disinterested analysis of the social order. particularly. headed by the dictator. Italian cinema under Musollini were primarily concerned with proFascism propaganda.8 Neorealists take into account the social truths and contextualties that affect the observer‘s objective reality. Neorealism in cinema. a political thought. believed in suppressing people‘s public behavior and was averse to the idea of plurality of voices. formulaic films. developed in Europe post the World War II. primarily deals with films that bring forth elements of reality and depict themes and characters close to real life as compared to conventional. categorized by the exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control. ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943. thus. Benito Musollini. There were. Crime and immorality. Therefore. The main problem with the films produced in that era was that they were divorced from reality and were only interested in promoting a positive image of Italy elsewhere in the world. Genesis of Neorealism:- Fascism. mainly three kinds of films that were produced under the rule of Mussolini. although the level of propaganda in Italian cinema did not reach the level of German or Russian films that were under the rule of totalitarian leaders. The government. the observer combines the subjectivity and objective reality and partakes in the endless process of interpretations. were subjects that the government did not want to depict on screen. They were:- .

Several attempts were made by the government to control and organize the film industry by forming several bodies. Mussolini. by placing a picture of himself behind a film-camera.―Film is the most powerful weapon‖ at the Cinecitta‘s studios. According to these regulations. infact. In 1933.were films that belonged to the ‗other end of the spectrum‘. Usually stories set in middle-class Italian families.9 Black Films:. to films which portrayed a positive image of Fascist Italy. groups and corporations. often played before the main films. there was another kind of cinema that was produced in Italy which was somewhere in between the spectrum. They were mostly short-length news reels. In addition. the government passed laws to ‗preserve the integrity‘ of Italian films abroad. These films were mostly war-films. . the Fascist government promoted pro-Fascism films by the means of providing grants to the extent of 100% funding. White.telephone films:. with fictional story-lines and huge doses of propaganda. Apart from ‗black‘ and ‗white-telephone‘ films. named himself the principal orchestrator in Italian Cinema.which championed the Fascist ideology. Italian films could not be dubbed in foreign languages and it was obligatory for all foreign films to be dubbed into Italian. these films were melodramatic and usually in the lighter vein. with a spin-off Lenin‘s quote:. This was the most important form of Fascist propaganda cinema. for instance.

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With the end of the World War II, Fascism also came to an end and by 1944, Italy was occupied by the Allies. The fall of Fascism meant that the voice of the working class and proletarians could now be heard. There was a strong urge, an angst amongst people to tell the world about the true conditions that existed in post-War Italy, and this is precisely what a group of filmmakers did. They showed an absolute disregard for old cinema and its codes and conventions. This group of filmmakers went instead, for gritty reality. The basic tenets of this movement were that cinema should focus on its own nature and role in society and that it should confront audiences with their own reality. This movement came to be known as Italian Neorealism. A movement that merged cinematic realism ( a tendency already present in the Fascist period) with social, political and economical themes that were always suppressed under the Fascist regime.

Although most critics credit Roberto Rosellini‘s Roma citta` aperta (Rome Open City) as being the first neo-realist film, Luchino Visconti‘s Ossesione (Obsessions, 1942), which was about a labourer, who becomes a murderer because of his lust and passion for a woman, was actually the landmark of the neo-realist film movement. Infact, it was Antonio Pietrangali, the script-writer of Visconti‘s film, who coined the term Italian Neorealism.

Poetic Realism can be considered as a precursor to Italian Neorealism. It was more of a tendency than a movement that lead up to the World War II. Championed by directors such as Jean Renoir and Pierre Chenal, these films were about marginalized characters, love and disappointment. A tone of nostalgia and bitterness was echoed in films

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belonging to this movement. Visconti‘s apprenticeship with Jean Renoir proved to be very fruitful for him. His interactions with Renoir and close association with his work gave him a good understanding of Renoir‘s cinematic style. Visconti‘s first film, Ossessione, as a result, draws hugely from Renoir‘s film, Toni, in which Visconti assisted the legendary French auteur.

Understanding Italian Neorealism:-

As proclaimed by one of the greatest neorealist filmmakers, Roberto Rosellini, Neorealism was both a moral and aesthetic cinema. As a movement that arrived as a result of the displeasure of filmmakers at the restrictions put on their freedom of expression, neorealism, sought to make realism more than an artistic stance. It aimed at bringing forth ―life as it is‖ in post-War Italy.

The stylistic and thematic characteristics of Italian Neorealism, which reflect this ideology, are as follows:-

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The Resistance (against the Fascist) Devastation caused by World War II The Working Class Poverty Humanism Urban space and its periphery Inspired by actual events

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7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Ambiguous endings Shooting on location Use of natural lights Post synchronization of sound (dubbing) Use of lower-grade film stocks (such as 16mm) Grainy ―documentary like‖ mise-en-scene Use of non-professional actors Use of long takes Little use of editing/ montage Use of wide depth of field.

Although not all neo-realist films met the above mentioned criteria. It was infact, only one film, De Sica‘s Ladri di bicicletti (Bicycle Thieves, 1948), that met all of these tenets. Visconti‘s La Terra Trema (The Earth Trembles) also includes most of these stylistic and thematic devices except for the fact that it was a literary adaptation. Visconti‘s earliest films, Ossessione, which can be considered as a landmark in Italian Neorealism movement, found itself amidst a lot of controversy when it was released, inspite of it being heavily censored. Visconti, through his tale of passion and sensuality that lead a man to commit a heinous crime like murder, defied the government‘s decrees of showing cleanliness and propriety on screen. One of the most celebrated and revered films of this era is Roberto Rosellini‘s Roma citta` aperta, based on real events that happened in Rome during the period between 1943-1944, while the city was still under the German control. The film is about the

if we take into consideration the last Neorealist film. In the Indian context. particularly. it impacted cinema world-wide. However. The Cold War mood of the early 1950s also contributed to the governmental dislike of the social realism inherent in these films. as a movement. The French New Wave Movement. one of the greatest auteurs of all time. De Sica‘s Il tetto (The Roof. acknowledges the influence of Italian Neorealism. Satyajit Ray introduced Italian Neorealism to the Indian audiences. The difficulties that Rosellini faced during the production of this film.13 happenings of Italian-Resistance during a three day period. is what gives his film its authenticity. Italian Neorealism. saw its demise in the early 1950s. which eventually gave the film a grainy and documentary film. 1956). infact fourteen years. Andereotti was given extensive powers because of which he could control the bank loans given to films which he thought were ―too neorealistic‖ and he was also in a position to deny screening rights to any film that projected Italy in a negative light. With the appointment of Giulio Andereotti as Director of Performing Arts. in the form of shortage of money and stocks. All these factors eventually lead to the death of the Italian Neorealist movement. Italian Neorealism and Satyajit Ray: Satyajit Ray: one of Indian cinema‘s most revered and admired auters ever. who is credited with amalgamating modernism into tradition- . for which it is best remembered. The neorealism movement lasted for about ten years. despite its demise. that was made. A revolutionary director. Rosellini had to use newsreels.

which shaped his vision in the long run. Ray came in touch with his ‗cinephile self‘ and rarely missed the screening of any Western film that was screened in the city. they are trans-cultural in their larger impact. acme when he went joined Shantiniketan. especially one that is characterized by bewildering diversity. ―While almost all of his (Ray‘s) films are rooted in the Bengali milieu and made primarily for the Bengalis. music and culture. the . twentieth century perspective. Around the same time. The turning point in Ray‘s life however.14 bound Indian cinema. they are as varied and as diverse as Italian Neorealism to Jean Renoir to Mozart to Bresson.‖ Talking of influences in Ray‘s cinema. Born in a family of artists. Ray showed extraordinary skills at painting and drawing and a great understanding of music. As he reached his mid teens. ―Satyajit Ray: in search of the modern‖ writes. modernist. they reveal a value system that has more to do with the nineteenth century.‖ writes Ganguly. Such paradoxes are common in a cinema generated within a postcolonial society. he was naturally drawn to fine-arts. he had developed a taste for European classical music. But as author Suranjan Ganguly in his book. He has infact. ―While Ray‘s films have been shaped by his cosmopolitan. confessed in many of his interviews that he learnt film-making simply through watching films. it is indeed impossible to label the genius of Ray. Some call him a classist while some a humanist. Going to an English-medium school ensured that Ray studied Western literature and culture. Ray grew up in nineteenth century Calcutta. Nineteenth century Bengal did influence Ray‘s cinematic vision to a major extent and it is mainly due to his upbringing. particularly Mozart and Beethoven.

cinema as a medium was still waiting for its ‗Renaissance Man‘. realizing the potential of cinema and the need for cinema to partake in this revolution wrote a letter to Sisir Kumar Bhaduri (famous actor of Bengali theatre)‘s brother Murari. social reformers. who aided the transition of ‗medieval‘ India to ‗modern‘ India. which was considered as the movement of nouveau riche had not percolated not yet made a mark. popularizing education.15 art-school founded by the great Rabindra Nath Tagore. it was still following literature and the great potential that cinema had as a tool to bring in social change and aid the process of Bengali Renaissance had not happened. saw many journalists. While there was an outburst of Bengali literature and art. The Cinema of Satyajit Ray:: Form in art changes according to the means it uses. In . painters and artists joining in. The Bengali Renaissance Movement is a movement questioning the orthodoxy and superstitions of people. is how Ray sums up his experience of the school. That happened in Shantiniketan‖. Perhaps it was his experience at Shantiniketan that brought him closer to the Bengali Renaissance movement as well. The movement which started with Raja Ram Mohun Roy. Cinema. abolishment of sati. writers. RabindraNath Tagore. poets. uplifting the status of people belonging to the lower castes. with special reference to the emancipation of women. Rabindranath Tagore made certain very significant statements on the cinema a free translation of which is provided by author Chidanand Dasgupta in his book. I believe that the new art that could be expected to develop out of the motion picture has not yet made its appearance. In status. ―I was not conscious of any roots in Bengal at all.

because in poetry. ―In cinema. but financial capital as well. A fusion of cinema‘s realistic vocabulary with the Indianness of style and statement had to await the arrival of Satyajit Ray. considered to be the last Renaissance Man. Shantaram and Vinayak made films with a notable modernist swing in tune with the country‘s urge towards the contemporisation of its culture. we are looking for independence. overwhelmed fact. his passion for cinema drove him and he founded the Calcutta Film Society along with other prominent members of the Calcutta film and literary circuit. we must do the same. As Chidanand DasGupta further expounds on Ray‘s contribution to cinema and social change at large. This act of rescue will not be easy. whereas in cinema. this position was filled by none other than Satyajit Ray. the aftermath of Phalke moved towards social films and away from mythology which Phalke himself continued to hug. This gap. in art. by saying. ― After his stint at Shantiniketan. Soon after. Every art seeks to find its own independent manner of expression within the world it creates. one needs not only creativity. painting or music the means are not expensive. who is often for this reason. the realistic fragment of life as the basic building block of cinema of many different kinds had not come into its own. Nonetheless their apprehension of the particular genius of cinema as a medium was inadequate. The Calcutta Film Society took out journals wherein .16 politics. otherwise its self-expression is undermined for the lack o confidence in itself. Ray found employment at a British advertising agency based in Calcutta and worked as an illustrator. Myth still dominated.because no creative genius has arrived to deliver it from its bondage. The cinema is so far acting as a slave to literature.

17 the members would write about the problems they thought Indian cinema had. The society, however, did not just concentrate on Indian cinema, but on world cinema, at large. Some of the cinephiles who found a platform in the form of this film club also became well-known film-critics in the future. Ray met many a filmmakers through his association with the Calcutta Film Society. Prominent amongst them are: Jean Renoir, Nikolai Cherkassov, John Huston amongst others.

Jean Renoir, the famous proponent of French Poetic Realism, a movement, which is touted as the precursor to Italian Neorealism, played a major role in shaping Ray‘s views and style as a filmmaker. Ray met Renoir while he was in Calcutta to shoot his film The River on the banks of Ganga, during the period between 1948-1949. Ray wrote a lot about Renoir in the journal Sequence and had close interactions with the director. He even closely observed the way Renoir worked and his cinematic style. Renoir was also impressed with Ray‘s understanding of Indian culture and values and his creative genius. ―Two remarks of Renoir are perhaps the most significant pointers to the characteristics of Ray‘s work in the future. The first was a humanist statement about characterization in Renoir‘s films, that he loved all his characters and could not condemn any.: ‗The trouble is that everybody has his reasons (for doing as he does)‘.. of no filmmakers other than Renoir himself has this been more true than of the early Ray. The second statement that worked as a catalyst on most of the Indian filmmakers was: ‗When Indian cinema gives up the imitation of Hollywood and tries to express the reality around itself, it will come across a new national style‘‖ (The Cinema of Satyajit Ray, Chidananda Dasguprta)

Ray‘s rendezvous with Italian Neorealism primarily happened when his employers at the

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ad-agency sent him to London. The city gave Ray an opportunity to watch more films, and in the process hone his skills as a filmmaker. At one of such film screenings, Ray watched Vittorio De Sica‘s legendary film, Bicycle Thieves. Ray had been toying with the idea of making Pather Panchali, his first film, which he wanted to shoot in actual locations and with non-professional actors. Folks back home had been quite apprehensive of his decision to move away from conventions. He carried a notebook with him to London and as he watched films, he would make sure that he takes down notes which would help him while directing his directorial debut. Ray was moved by De Sica‘s film and Italian Neorealism made a great impact on him. Reminiscing about the days spent at London, Ray writes in the introduction of his book, Our films, their films, ―All through my stay in London, the lessons of Bicycle Thieves and neo-realist cinema stayed with me".

The lessons he learnt from the film definitely went a long way in terms of strengthening his belief in films that dare to defy conventions. As author Suranjan Ganguly writes, ―Italian neorealism had offered him a model that would be set in the heart of rural Bengal. On his way back to India, he began to draft the screenplay of Pather Panchali/ Song of the little Road (1955), which would revolutionalize Indian film and place it on the map of international cinema.‖

Pather Panchali was just the beginning. Ray heralded an era of neorealism in India. Bengali cinema, according to Chidanand Dasgupta, was always contemptuous of the ―documentary‖ realism of Pather Panchali during the long period of its fund and indeed,

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Ray however, never looked back and continued with his conviction. He always opposed Indian cinema‘s following the Hollywood model. The superficiality and the overpowering ‗studio-stamp‘ is what Ray was dissatisfied with. At a speech at Asia Society, New York, in 1981, he said that he had not only learnt what to do from Hollywood films, but also what not to do. As Ray writes in his book, Our films, their films, ―It should be realized that the average American film is a bad model, if only, because it depicts a way of life so utterly at variance with our own. Moreover, the high technology polish, which is the hall-mark of the standard Hollywood product, would be impossible to achieve under existing Indian conditions. What Indian cinema needs today is not more gloss, but, more imagination, more integrity and more intelligent appreciation of the limitations of the medium.‖ Through all of Ray‘s films, be it the Apu Trilogy or the Charulata phase or even his later and more experimental films, Ray continued to make films that reflected Indian society and its woes just as Italian Neorealist films did. Ray showed the path less trodden, the style of film-making where gritty reality overtook gloss, where actors and characters ‗lived lives‘ on screen rather than ‗enacting scenes‘ at studios. Moving ahead with times, Ray as a director, never shied away from the ‗unconventional‘. As Chidanand Dasgupta writes, ―Seldom has a film director‘s work chronicled the process of social change over a long span of time as Satyajit Ray‘s. the subjects of his film range over the shifting social scene in India for over one hundred and fifty years. Devi (The Goddess, 1960), is placed in the 1980s, Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players, 1977) in the 1850s, Charulata

no planned exercise going over the year grid by grids. Sadgati (The Deliverance. Jalsaghar (The Music Room. timeless period. Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder. 1958) is at the turn of the century. The dissertation also attempts to study and question the presence of neorealist aesthetics and themes in contemporary Bollywood popular films. needless to say. it is possible to identify minute divisions of periods marked by particular tendencies. the Apu trilogy in the early years of the century. as it were. ― The dissertation is a tribute to the great auteur Satyajit Ray and aims to study the influence of Italian Neorealism on his cinema. Ray picked the subjects at will and at different times according to what he felt concerned with. in order to understand how Italian Neorealism spread in the country after Ray introduced it to the Indian audiences. 1981) was written by Prem Chand in the 1930s about an unspecified.20 (1964)‘s story is laid in 1879. . Even within the contemporary subjects. what he happened to read and met the exigencies of filmmaking at a given time. 1973) deals with the British-made wartime famine of 1943. besides he of course made contemporary films. There was.

who revolutionalized filmmaking in India through his understanding of Indian issues and ethos while amalgamating them with a Westen radical viewpoint. through his book attempts to question and interpret the validity of this belief. Calcutta. Boulder and teaches subjects ranging from European to Asian Cinema. Satyajit Ray. Xavier‘s College and Jadavpur University. is considered to be the last Renaissance Man. Film . The statement pretty much sums up the author‘s reason behind writing the book. titled ―Satyajit Ray: In search of the modern‖. Suranjan Ganguly hails from Ray‘s city. Ray is often termed as the modernist who heralded in an era of change in film-making. He is chair of Film Studies at the University of Colrado. Due to this near perfect fusion of Eastern and Western influences in his work. After this. where he obtained his doctorate degree from Purdue University. Suranjan Ganguly. he shifted base to the United States. He studied at St. Ray remains an enigmatic figure‖.21 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Book:Author:- Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern Suranjan Ganguly ―As the man credited with ushering modernity into tradition bound Indian cinema. is how author Suranjan Ganguly begins his book on Ray. He has written for prestigious film journals such as Sight and Sound.

the old and the new. Ray‘s films primarily were about documenting India. and connect to his Indian roots. Aranyer Din Ratri and Pratidwandi. It studies Satayajit Ray‘s work with special emphasis on the Bengali Renaissance period and how it influenced his thought process and personality. tradition and progress. namely: Pather Panchali. Ganguly gives an account of Satyajit Ray‘s childhood and his growing up years in Shantiniketan. Calcutta. particularly. the village and the city. at large. The author draws interesting parallels between conflicts and Ray‘s cinema. Aparajito. He was always amazed by the genius of Ray and had been writing several pieces on him in journals. which he showcased through his films.22 Criticism. At the same time. essentially is a study of modernity is Ray‘s work through six of his films. Asian Cinema . Ganguly asserts that it is Ray‘s East-West cosmopolitanism becomes the undercurrent in all his films. The Journal of South Asian Literature and the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. the constant process of change that India is going through as a pluralist nation. According to him. Conflicting forces such as the feudal and the modern. the influence of Jean Renoir and De Sica‘s shaped up his cinematic style to a great extent. The book. amongst others. where he got an opportunity to understand. East-West film journal. Ganguly‘s enthusiasm for Ray finally translated into a book in the year 1997 where he wrote the book over a period of seven months in Ray‘s and his own city. are shaping composite modern . Apur Sansar. such as Film Criticism. Ganguly affirms that Western influences. filtered through the experiences of men and women who seek to define themselves vis-à-vis conflicting forces. Charulata.

Suranjan Ganguly talks about the broader philosophical. devoid of the melodramatic framework that Indian cinema had come to be associated with. right from Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) in which the conflicting forces of feudalism and colonialism come forth to Devi (1960). The author also discusses two of Ray‘s later films. in particular. where Ray told Apu‘s tragic story. defines Indianness for Ray. Aranyer Din Ratri and Pratidwandi. Without going much into the nittygritties of Ray‘s aesthetics. He substantiates this by giving an account of Ray‘s works and how it has been a constant process of documenting and depicting a nation that is in perpetual growth.‖ It is this entire process of change in Ray‘s cinema that Suranjan Ganguly‘s book critically chronicles that I chose to study it for my dissertation. fanaticism and hysteria. As he writes in the conclusion of his book. that according to Ganguly. Charulata saw Ray‘s shifted interest in telling ―tales through the woman‘s eyes‖. where certain changes evolved in Ray‘s cinematic style. While the Apu Trilogy introduced neorealistic aesthetics to Indian cinema. it is possible to trace the trajectory of Ray‘s modernity as it evolves from an enlightened humanist‘s faith in progress to the gradual erosion of that faith. The correlation of India‘s growth and development as a society and Ray‘s cinematic work provided for an interesting read to understand the societal themes and issues that he showcased through .23 identity. Gangualy chooses to study six films. which define and are representative of the changes that came about in his work. amongst his other films. cultural and intellectual framework within which Ray worked. ―From Apu learning to write in Pather Panchali to Siddharth‘s crisis of choice in Pratidwandi. where Ray crafts a gritty tale of a woman in Rural Bengal caught in midst of superstition.

such as Jana Aranya. He talks about how Ray‘s career as a filmmakers began in the nation-building years and how he shared Nehru‘s vision of modern India: the liberalist-humanist. takes an analytical look at Ray as a filmmaker. Ganguly particularly gives an interesting account of the changes that came about in Ray‘s work in the Nehruvian and post-Nehruvian era. Ray‘s admiration for the Nehruvian modern India and the resultant influence it had in terms of the socio-historical space within which Ray worked as an artist have been explained well in the book. Satyahit Ray: In Search of the Modern. the rise of the middle class and the post-Independence search for identity. that formed the core of his cinema. I found the book very useful in terms of acquainting me with Ray‘s value-system. as a modernist. Ganguly has brought into notice how this vision. focusing on issues such as human subjectivity. his beliefs and the societal truths of that era. Towards the conclusion of the book. this belief in Tagorean ethos changed over time in society and was reflected poignantly in Ray‘s later films.24 his work. importance of education. cosmopolitan agenda. . women‘s emancipation. Since ‗neorealism‘ as a movement is about social contextualities and the observer‘s objective reality. vis-à-vis. thus.

anecdotes and interpretations shared by Ray through this book goes to show the keen eye and passion he had for cinema. Ray talks in depth about his Calcutta Film Society days in the Introduction chapter. Ray tells us about the different economic adversities that he had to face. Pather Panchali and Jalsaghar. The apt dose of humour and the breezy style in which the book is written make it an absolutely amazing book to read for all Ray enthusiasts. and from the families of some members who felt ―cinema would hamper the sanctity‖ of their homes. From Bengali cinema‘s obsession .25 Book:Author:- Our Films. The struggle to sustain the film club and go on in times of adversity and problems cropping up from the film industry. The first thirteen essays essentially talk about Indian cinema. The collection of opinions. Talking about the making of his films. which branded the film club members as people who‘s sole aim in life was to bicker and find faults in films. views. its problems and its growth. Their films Satyajit Ray The book is a collection of essays written by Ray himself on the craft of filmmaking and the problems involved in it. The personal details and tone with which Ray narrates this incident connects the reader almost instantaneously to this young cinephile and his ambition to be a filmmaker.

and talks about the articles he had written his work. Ray says that the need of the hour is to explore and discover a film idiom that inherently is more Indian and reflects our intelligence and integrity. the picturization and the Western point of view of Indian cinema and music and sums up the chapter by saying. He discusses the need. Expressing an overall dismay at the culture of gloss and glamour that had taken over the Indian film industry.26 with the Hollywood-based model to stories that were alienated from reality. Ray talks about some of the greats of world-cinema ranging from Truffaut to Renoir to Kurosawa. ―I feel less anger and more admiration for the composer who can lift the main theme of finest movements of Mozart‘s finest symphonies and turn it into a filmi geet and make it sound convincing‖. Ray campaigns for cinema to be treated as an art form and for it to be given its due as all other art-forms are. about songs and their importance in films. proved detrimental to cinema‘s development and expansion as a medium. Ray affirms his belief in the power of the medium that started off as the medium for the ‗nouveau riche‘. distribution and economic hindrances that directors had to face. Ray talks in detail. almost as much. the details and theories involved in film-making. than other art forms. who he met while Renoir was in Calcutta to shoot his film The River. Renoir shaped Ray‘s . Ray discusses all these and several other things that. the production. if not more. Jean Renoir. according to him. Ray goes deeper into explaining the reader about the processes. but has the potential to bring in change. Leaving almost no aspect of film-making untouched. Throughout the book. In the later half of the book. the trends. Ray reminisces about his meeting with French director.

De Sica‘s Bicycle Thieves. Italian Neorealism. gave him the courage to defy the conventions of the stereotypical Bengali cinema that was being made at that time. reading the book is almost like interacting with Ray. Ray speaks positively of the Italian Neorealism Movement and the resulting New Wave that came about in cinema. with amateurs. and talks about their cinematic representation of ‗reality‘ with a strong undercurrent of human emotions that carry their films forward. The style inspired him so much that he finally found the courage and motivation to go ahead and shoot his debute film. the filmmaker and the person. He discusses about his first rendezvous with Italian Neorealist cinema while he was in London. This book also displays the immense grasp that Ray had over the history and the development of film as a medium. A case in point is the chapter he has . He discusses the works of several Italian filmmakers and gives the readers a firm grounding of how the Italian film industry works. therefore. in Hollywood and film industries of other countries. the cinema. has created new cinematic idioms which defy ‗polish‘. according to Ray. the way he wished to: in actual locations. to styles to influences.27 cinematic style to a major extent and Ray cherishes his interactions with the great French auteur. Certain qualities of Ray‘s persona. like his objectivity also shines through his book. Right from the problems. for instance. He compares and contrasts the cinematic styles of Antinioni and Fellini. Arising out of financial constraints and economic problems. Pather Panchali.

Sathyu.S. Reading Our Films. Mani Kaul. but in terms of understanding the genius of Satyajit Ray. . avoiding any kind of bias. Their Films. proved to be a great learning experience. his views and his love for the craft. Ray provides a brilliant analysis of their work. there is not even a tinge of professional jealousy or one-upmanship in his analysis.28 written on his contemporaries. his works. not only from the point of view of my dissertation topic. Shyam Benegal. M. Kumar Shahani. Although he does include some severe criticism of their work. but at the same time.

Ray. Chidanand Dasgupta writes about how the first ten years of Ray‘s cinematic journey saw him make films that primarily emphasized on individuality and humanism. Ray‘s involvement in the Bengali Renaissance and his stature as the ‗last Bengali Renaissance Man‘. keeping his socio-cultural context in mind. new directions. The book. their closeness to Tagore. through films. Dividing Ray‘s cinematic styles into different era. The Cinema Of Satyajit Ray portrays this close association that the author Dasgupta shared with Ray. .29 Book:Author:- The Cinema of Satyajit Ray Chidanand Dasgupta Author Chidanand Dasgupta‘s association with Satyajit Ray dates back to their Calcutta Film Society days. The most important thing that sets the book apart is the fact that it studies Ray‘s evolution as a director. The book is considered to be one of the most comprehensive accounts of Ray‘s work and his extraordinarily creative career as a filmmaker spanning over four decades. Dasgupta. which gave a platform to cinephiles all across the city to watch and get exposed to the best of world cinema. and later moved on to tread new paths. The author gives in a detailed account of Ray‘s upbringing in an artistic family. Bansi Chandragupta and a few others founded the society. such as Agantuk.

Dasgupta talks about how Ray succeeded in making his trilogy more believable and less romanticized than the novels on which it is based on. are recounted with a very personal touch and tone. The emphasis on literary sources in the film is not limited to this chapter alone. The book also studies the various influences on Ray‘s cinematic style. Bicycle Thieves and other neorealist films with the films of Ray. particularly highlighting his interaction with Jean Renoir. The chapter on contemporary realities showcased in Ray‘s films talk about how he dealt with emerging issues and shifted his attention to the urban landscape. Dasgupta also tells us about Ray‘s amazement at watching Italian Neorealist films and how they impacted his style of film-making. Jean Renoir‘s familiarity with the Calcutta Film Society and Chidanand Dasgupta ensures that the comments and quotes made by Renoir about Indian cinema and Satyajit Ray.30 An exclusive chapter on the Apu trilogy studies nature of Ray‘s humanism. but the author talks about the literary sources used by Ray and the departures from the original sources throughout the book. particularly with respect to his admiration for Tagorean beliefs and rejection of the Marxist methodology. Dasgupta studies . Dasgupta talks in detail about Ray‘s departures from the literary originals and substantiates this with examples such as the scene where Apu and Durga chase the train. Dasgupta draws parallels between the characterizations in Umberto D. Dasgupta‘s attempt to study the societal framework that existed at that point of time in relation to Ray‘s cinema helps the readers understand Ray‘s thought process and the representation of ‗reality‘ in his films. It is in this process that Ray introduced ―a modicum of present day realism‖.

etc.31 films like Mahanagar. Ganashatru. He talks about how Ray held his scripts close to his heart. . Dasgupta also discusses the creative approaches adopted by the great auteur. concepts. on how excited and involved he would get about all aspects of film-making sort of creates an instant connect with the readers and helps one relate to the cinema of Satyajit Ray at a closer and more personal level. notes. The way Dasupta narrates incidents about Ray on the set of his films. Pratidwandi amongst other films of Ray and gives an in-depth analysis of how these films marked a sort of a paradigm shift in Ray‘s brand of realism. His understanding of cinema as a medium and his familiarity with Ray gives his writing a sort of a credibility and authority which is quite rare. How his scripts were characteristically vague and open-ended and made use of devices such as sketches.

He talks about the early period of his filmmaking.com Title: Satyajit Ray on Cinema The documentary opens with a scene where Satyajit Ray directing a scene on location.com/watch?v=GQAQSX2aDAI&playnext_from=PL&feature=PlayL ist&p=29E94BE2D2636AD2&playnext=1&index=20 Website: www. with respect to his . where he would make one film every year. He says that this was partly due to the fact that it gave him an opportunity to keep the unit together and bond with his actors and technicians. The VO introduces Ray and a few shots into the film. where he realized that he was not talented enough to be a painter and thus. As a child. who lost his father at the age of two. Ray talks about working with amateurs and how important improvisation begins in such a scenario.youtube. The documentary then takes us back to Ray‘s childhood and his growing up years in Shantiniketan. It is here that Ray talks about the ‗autobiographical element‘ of the Apu Trilogy.youtube. joined a joined British ad-agency based in Calcutta.32 DOCUMENTARY:LINK: http://www. a conversation with the great auteur. Ray says that he could identify with Apu‘s character. The discussion about Ray‘s childhood years also sees him answer questions about his identity. Ray begins.

Apu‘s elder sister witnesses the death of her paternal aunt in a forest and the other where Apu‘s father dies in front of him in Aparajito. His preference for shooting on location. one from Pather Panchali where Durga. As the documentary moves forward. The brief documentary provides an interesting study of Ray‘s childhood. ―Yes. In both the scenes. Ray talks about one of the symbolical common link that binds the three stories of the Apu Trilogy together. He describes two scenes. particularly. his mother and father gives increases the connect and the footage from his films . bringing forth the ‗Renaissance-inspired modernist‘ aspect of his persona. the horror of death through creatively envisioned metaphors. I think I can be Indian enough if the need arises‖. It is well-made and manages to give the viewer an experience of engaging in a conversation with the great director himself.33 East-West fusion upbringing. with special reference to death and the use of symbolism. the director beautifully avoids falling into the realm of cliché‘ and melodrama and chooses to depict the devastation. Photographs of Ray. Expounding more on the use of metaphorism in his cinema. which is the train. use of symbols. starting with Pather Panchali to Apur Sansar. spontaneity and improvisation are some aspects that are highlighted through this documentary. his career. his cinematic vision. Ray talks more in detail about his aesthetics as a film-makers. his aesthetics as a director. When the interviewee poses the question of ―Do you think your are Indian enough?‖ Ray answers by saying. He explains how he used the train. to stand for a lyrical metaphor to a devastating one.

the exposure to De Sica‘s film provided an impetus to Ray‘s resolve to go ahead with his debut project. is studied and discussed at length in this dissertation. . While he had already thought of using non-professional actors and shooting on locations. Pather Panchali. the trilogy is based on the journey of a young boy called Apu. namely. along with.As discussed in the introduction. The trilogy has thus. been taken as the primary case study in order to explore and understand how neorealism was introduced in India by Satyajit Ray. which form the Apu trilogy. Aparajito and Apur Sansar.34 have been edited well to create a montage that beautifully supplements the experiences that Ray recounts over the duration of the documentary. The Apu Trilogy:. decided to put to use all the lessons that had stayed with him while watching Italian Neorealist films. Pather Panchali and Aparajito. METHODOLOGY Reading film as text has been the main research methodology incorporated in this research project. care was taken to interpret and analyze the isolated scenes. as he had planned. While studying each film. from boyhood to manhood and the hardships and hurdles that he has to face in his journey. shots and other aesthetic and thematic devices used by the director. Satyajit Ray‘s debut film. Based on semi-autobiographical novels by Bibhutibhusan Bandopadhyay. Pather Panchali. layers. Ray on his return from London.

35 The first film. The film‘s appeal lies in the very believable . the film tells the tale of Apu. Based on Bibhutibhushan Bandhapadyay‘s novel. the adolescent. which ultimately results in her death. Satyajit Ray. brought in a breath of fresh air to the otherwise formulaic Indian cinema. his search for an identity. marks the birth of the protagonist Apu and thereby. such as on-location shoots. his dilemmas. is what set the film apart. The newness and the uniqueness of the film was not limited to the aesthetic devices. Pather Panchali. but the way this grim tale of a poverty-stricken family was narrated by Ray. introduces the boy who‘s life we are going to witness through the span of the trilogy. Ray‘s emphasis on finer details. all added up to form a lyrical and realistic portrait of rural Bengal of those times. The film is about the trials and tribulations that Apu‘s family has to go through because of extreme poverty that they have grown used to. right from the nuances of the characters to the background score to the carefully designed costumes. Ray roots for the importance of education and progress throughout the film. without going overtly melodramatic at any point. acts like a perfect bridge between Pather Panchali. the use of natural lights and longer takes. through the simple narrative and strong emphasis on emotions and human dignity in this film. The second half of the film focuses on the ever-expanding distance between Aparajito and his mother. Pather Panchali is succeeded by its equally brilliant and powerful sequel. The tale about Apu‘s estrangement from his mother. his quest for knowledge. representative of the emerging ‗modern India‘ of that era. who after losing his father decides to shift to Kolkata to pursue higher education. the first film and Apur Sansar. Aparajito. the concluding part of the Apu trilogy. Aparajito and the later half of Pather Panchali.

Chadanand Dasgupta talks about precisely the reason that makes the trilogy different. is grim. However. Ray. by virtue of its being a film about poverty and hardships. As author Chidanand Dasgupta says about the film.36 characterizations. The trilogy.‖ in the words of Dasgupta. more ‗real‘. which we had witnessed in the first and the second film. ―Poverty in the trilogy. could easily fall into the realm of clichéd representation of a poor family. The film ends with Apu carrying his son on his shoulders standing at the same village road. particularly. . Moving over to the last installment of the Apu trilogy. He made cinema more believable. arising entirely from the events themselves and never appears to be imposed on them by the filmmaker‖. simple narrative and the way the director has realistically captured the transformation that education and thereby. The story revolves around Apu‘s marriage to Aparna. through the Apu trilogy succeeded in brining a fresh new dimension to Indian cinema. makes Apur Sansar ―Ray‘s most personal film in the nature of the emotional charge it carries within. Aparajito and beautifully sums up the touching trilogy. especially. ―it progresses with natural logic which makes its poetry completely authentic. her subsequent death at childbirth. portrays the young Apu as an educated man. the way he slowly brings about events. Pather Panchali. The story is again based on Bibhutibhsushan Bandhapadyay‘s novel. Apu‘s giving up all hopes and eventually finding a ray of hope in the form of his young son. The way Ray builds up Apu and Aparna‘s relationship. Apur Sansar. modernity had brought in society. who he had estranged blaming for his mother‘s death. replete with melodramatic incidents and elements. Pather Panchali. harbouring literary ambitions.

was conducted over the internet. indeed. this true to life characterization and flow of events. this dissertation studies the influence of Italian Neorealism on Satyajit Ray‘s cinema through interpreting and analyzing the Apu trilogy. real. Suranjan Ganguly. but that it also symbolizes a vast mass of humanity in India. this abstractness.‖ It is this connect. before all else. Therefore. The poor are no statistic here. this spontaneity. and we know that it is not only something that this family suffers from.37 unadorned. this strong sense of humanism that runs through all of Ray‘s films. as a mass lumped together they are inconceivable to the trilogy. particularly. the Apu trilogy that makes him one of the greatest neorealists ever. INTERVIEW An interview with author. . Excerpts of the interview have been used in the concluding chapter of this research project. in order to ensure a better understanding of his writings on Ray. individual human beings. where they are.

played a very important role in terms of inspiring and motivating Ray to make his debut film. Ray. The film is based on a novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. through this film. Vittorio De Sica‘s Bicycle Thieves. from being a child to an adolescent to a man and eventually a father. marks Ray‘s the beginning of Ray‘s cinematic journey. Although the film essentially is a grim tale of poverty. the journey of a young boy born in a poor household in rural Bengal and the different phases in his life. Pather Panchali. (Song of the Little Road) Year of Release: 1955 Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road). However. The process of breaking free and going ahead with what he believed in took Ray a while and his experience at London. where he had a chance to see some great Italian Neorealist films indeed boosted his morale. this was quite shocking to his friends and contemporaries who were primarily fed on a diet of conventional and formulaic cinema. Satyajit Ray had thought of making this film on real locations and with non-professional actors. introduced Indian audience‘s to his brand of lyrical realism.38 ANALYSIS 1 : Pather Panchali. Aparajito and Apur Sansar are the other two films of the trilogy. Pather Panchali is the first part of the Apu Trilogy. particularly. the way he wished to make it. death and harsh realities that a .

a strong lady who looks after the household and constantly hopes and dreams for a better future. The film shines because of its universal humanist appeal. The fact that Indir Thakrun lives with the family does not go down too well with Sarbajaya. The tone of the film does not force people to take pity on the characters and their lives. The family already grappling with poverty finds it difficult to sustain the childish demands of the elderly Indir Thakrun. Durga shares a special bond with her Pishi (paternal aunt) and because of this she goes . the patriarch. Harihar. vivacious and effervescent. He hopes to make it big one day by writing scholarly plays and poetry. Harhihar is married to Sarbajaya. at no point does the director choose to go melodramatic. The characterization is well rounded and real. naught. Indir Thakrun. the woes. there is a certain dignity about the characters of the film. on the threshold of ‗second childishness‘. who shares the roof with them. is a priest and earns a meager living. she shares a strong bond with Indir Thakrun. as stated above is about the life of a miserably poor family in rural Bengal. The ‗slice of life‘ appeal of the film and the way it unfolds on screen has a certain rhythm about it which effortlessly transports the viewer to that day and that era. rather it presents a matter of fact account of the family‘s trials and tribulations. as it adds extra burden to the family. her paternal-aunt. Harihar and Sarbajaya have a daughter named. Durga. which helps the viewers to strike an instant chord. is an elderly woman. PLOT SUMMARY: The film. who loves being pampered and looked after. In spite of all their problems.39 family in rural Bengal has to grapple with.

She gets caught several times for her petty crimes and white-lies. to dressing him up for school. which angers her self-respecting mother. she is his friend. only to come back after a few days. From singing lullabies for Apu. They chase the village candy-seller together. Not only is she is an elder sister to Apu. is asked to leave the households many a times by Sarbajaya.40 out of her way and steals fruits from the neighborhood orchard (which once belonged to them). His employment opportunities are few and far in between. Indir Thakrun. after falling ill. the daughter succumbs to death. therefore. his accomplice. the male child is an occasion of immense joy and happiness for the entire family. especially on an occasion where she is alleged to have stolen a neckpiece belonging to a estranged relative. he is the apple of everyone‘s eyes. but more than that. The birth of Apu. as he grows up. She leaves at times. Harihar who is the sole bread earner of the family is exploited by his employers and does not even manage to get regular wages. Sarbajaya. He often goes out of the village to try and earn some money or on the look out for some employment opportunity. Apu is dependent on his elder sister and stands by her. While on a visit out of the city. the child. . Sarbajaya. experience the invitation of urban life in the form of witnessing a train for the first time and even share the melancholic moment of discovering Indir Thakrun‘s dead body. Apu and Durga share a very special and intimate relationship. is aided by Indir Thakrun and Durga take up maternal roles for Apu. Durga.

in search of a better tomorrow. devastation and deprivation that village life has to offer. Finding it tough to deal with the death. the family decides to move to the city. with gifts for his family and a saaree for his daughter. . he discovers that she is no more.41 As Harihar returns home.

Apu in Pather Panchali. although is pampered and looked after by all. it is a supremely epiphanic moment celebrated with a burst of music. where the character of Apu was the be all and end all. There are no heroes or villains. A very important point about the characterization of the film is that none of the characters are uni-dimensional. his identity. In a two-shot. is just another member of the family. There is no black or white. Durga steals upon him sleeping and . The relationships that Apu experiences within his familial set-up. Every character is shaped by the social milieu which is what makes the characterization more believable and real. He writes. He takes his share of creative liberties and deviates to an extent from the characterizations etched out by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay in his novel by the same name. forms his character. the film. The character of Apu: Unlike the novel by Bibhutibhshan Bandapadhyay.42 CHARACTERIZATION: Satyajit Ray crafts each character beautifully and realistically on screen. It is this relationship of Apu with his community that author Suranjan Ganguly explains through recounting the scene where Apu ‗opens his eyes to the world and the cinematic audiences‘. ―When Apu opens his eye. Ray‘s characterization of Apu does not shower him with all the importance.

Ray does not really explore these aspects in Pather Panchali. one-shot isolates and frames Apu in a way that proclaims his independence and self-consciousness while affirming the connectedness to the community his mother and sister offer him. As author Suranjan Ganguly writes. but more about him in relation to his world. Although. however.43 stretches a tear in the sheet covering his face to reveal a closed eye. From the close up of the eyes. Satyajit Ray. does draw parallels between the education at the schoolhouse with its emphasis on dogma and discipline and Apu‘s sensibilities.―I‖. where Apu‘s daunting. that we discover through his experiences and his reactions. his want. Apu‘s character.‖ As the author further expounds upon this by saying that ―the shot defines him as an active and conscious agent whose sense of self. The film is not so much about him. Ray cuts to a one shot of Apu sitting up in bed. shares a special quest for knowledge and a unique bond with nature. we will not witness the trilogy exclusively from Apu‘s eyes. revealing himself to us. A case in point in the scene. This beautifully defines the functionality of Apu‘s character in Pather Panchali. . innocent eyes witness the physical abuse that is meted out to his elder sister Durga by the mother when she hears complaints about the necklace theft. The impression the event leaves on Apu and the way he reacts when he finds the necklace towards the end of the film establishes the connection Apu had with his deceased sister. Thus. his need to bury the past (as he throws the necklace in a pond) and his view of the socialconstruct that surrounds him. She pries it open with her fingers and pushes aside the sheet.will be an inseparable from the sense of being an ―eye‖. in the novel. how he reacts to what he sees will shape our awareness of his world‖.

Durga is guided by her wants and desires. Her characterization. her desire to protect and guide her younger sibling Apu. more or less conforms with the characterization of Durga in Bandhapadhyay‘s novel. absorbing. . As a reviewer writes about the main male characters of the film. ―are more soft-featured and sensitive than the women. We never see him at school again.Durga plays a central character in the film. When a boy is hauled up for playing knots and crosses and brutally caned. he admonishes the boy.‖ Durga:. Ray cuts to a shot of a petrified Apu watching the beating— perhaps his first dislocating experience of the adult world.44 ―Apu‘s first experience of education is in Pather Panchali in the village school run by the local grocer who combines business with teaching. but clearly not relishing his first contact with this playhouse academis where students learn by rote. Harihar and Apu. especially Indir Thankrun happy. Clearly. The medium close-ups of Apu‘s face show him watching. these guys are more likely to spontaneously break into song than to grunt or give someone a sock in the jaw. her desire to make people around her. Does he think this is a playhouse? Apu‘s answer would probably be in the affirmative given the raised dais on which the grocer-teacher ―performs‖ and the resulting comedy that accompanies his histrionics. her desire for jewellery and ornaments. in his blog. her desire for tasty. fancy food. with its emphasis on dogma and discipline. a boy of his sensitivity needs less than the schoolhouse can offer.‖ It is this sensitivity of its male characters that Pather Panchali stands for. Finding Apu grinning. the male characters in Pather Panchali. although we know he continues to attend it.

In the scene where Apu and Durga follow the candy-seller to their neighbour‘s home. of relishing and savoring sweets that their modest living conditions don‘t allow them. She helps out her mother with household chores. her wants remain subservient to her younger brother‘s because of the societal preference for the male child. her desires. while swearing him to secrecy that he won‘t tell their mother. The scene where Durga makes Apu taste the pickle.45 The character is as real as real can get and sums up beautifully the desires and aspirations of an adolescent girl. proving how genuine her love is. the scene where in spite of her mother‘s ignorant attitude towards Indir Thakrun‘s demands. yet. her the child-woman yearns to be able to do things her way. While she asks her neighbour for the necklace and appreciates its beauty. a rebellious streak in her. she hands him over the fruits that she had stolen for her and of course the scene where Durga takes along her brother to ‗discover‘ the secret about the train bring forth the inherent childishness and carefree nature of Durga. there is a certain brashness. cooks and takes care of Apu almost like his mother. In spite of these restrictions that are put on her by virtue of being a girl child. It is the expression of these desires openly and wanting to do something in order to fulfill them that makes Durga a very strong character indeed. Durga is guided by the need of hunger. but implicitly. Being close to Indir Thankrun. Although she never explicitly flouts any orders given by her parents. she goes to the extent of stealing fruits from her neighbour‘s orchard. The character of Durga is the first child of the family. In the forest picnic scene. The financial and social status of her family plays a great role in shaping up her personality. we see her desire for vanity. where all the girls talk about their marriage and .

artistic dreamer. The scene beautifully sums up the relationship between Durga and her younger brother Apu. in the form of rain. Durga sits besides her brother and covers him with her saaree‘s pallu. Ray zooms on to Durga‘s face. Her tears represent the internal conflict between her wants and her family‘s conditions which force her to suppress her wants. the character of .46 finding a perfect match. Following her carefree rendezvous with the rain. As a man who has been exploited by his employers and his own folks. the grief does not hit him hard as he lives in his own paradise where things will work out one day. It marks perhaps the very first time when Durga literally lets her hair down and enjoys herself to her heart‘s content. her dreams. The poverty of the family. However. The scene where Durga gets drenched in the rain also brings to notice several aspects of her persona. Again at her friend‘s marriage. while witnessing the rituals. soon turns out to be nature‘s fury as Durga falls ill and eventually dies in the next scene. hopes and ambitions and the societal curbs and hurdles that she had to go through. emotional. Durga disapprovingly says that she knows that she won‘t get married. trying to protect and comfort him. Harihar: Harihar epitomizes the romantic. the ill-fortune. Through out the film. also highlight the relationship between the girl child born in that era. who is seen shedding tears in the background. This is followed by a somber expression on her face. at some level. He is far away from the societal changes that are taking place. he has no ambition or want of taking a revenge or moving ahead in life. nature‘s blessing. The entire sequence of events.

he portrays his typical escapist attitude by saying that everything will be fine one day. However. Harihar assures Sarbajaya that they would celebrate the occasion with much aplomb even though they are going through a financial crisis. primarily because of his passive attitude and lack of ambition. Sarbajaya can be termed as narrowminded. As the main patriarch of the family. partly because of the fact that he is mostly out looking for employment opportunities. When Sarbajaya tries to reason it out with him. he does not really contribute much. even though he wants to see them happy. Although he is very fond of his children. In the scene where Harihar and Sarbajaya talk about Apu‘s Annaprashan (a Bengali ritual where the child tastes ‗real food‘ for the first time). but harbours aspiration of writing poetry and scholarly articles. but. when they would be able to make two ends meet. in terms of shaping their world-view. at no point does he consciously try or question the reasons behind the way things stand. He is a priest and has employment opportunities few and far in between. Harihar is not a very successful father or husband. Essentially a backward. There is a direct disconnect between Harihar‘s dream world and his real world. uneducated rural Bengali house-wife.47 Harihar is shown dreaming about the day that will change their lives. her attitude towards the elderly sister- . The portrayal of Harihar‘s character in Ray‘s film is quite feeble as compared to the character written by Bandopadhyay. He is not able to fulfill the desires of his wife or his kids. Sarbajaya: The character of the mother is very important in the film. The way she behaves with Indir Thakrun.

but the fact remains that the extreme poverty and the sacrifice that Sarbajaya has had to go through in life has made her react to situations the way she does. She puts her dignity and the family‘s pride at the forefront. She arranges some money by selling off some crockery but still does not accept favors from anyone. It is Sarbajaya who gives Harihar the much needed ‗realitycheck‘ from time to time. Even as Harihar leaves home in search of a job and does not return for a very long time. She cannot stand people pointing a finger at her daughter for stealing things. at no point does Sarbajaya give up or ask for help. She believes that Thakrun‘s presence has had a negative impact particularly on Durga as she had started stealing things for Indir Thankrun. Sarbajaya comes across as bitter at times. Although.48 in-law may be read as negative. All through the touch times that the family has to go through. She constantly hopes for a better future and has faith in her husband‘s dreams of a brighter future for the family. She is a dedicated wife and mother. As a result of this and due to the extreme hardships that she has to go through to make the two ends meet. The violent scene where Sarbajaya brutally beats up Durga . Her life revolves around her children and their happiness it is here that Indir Thankrun appears to be more of a hindrance. Sarbajaya refuses to take the help of her neighbors and family members. Sarbajaya is also very moralistic. who always puts her husband‘s and children‘s wants before hers. leaving the family in shambles with no food and no money. The most important factor that comes across through the character of Sarbajaya is her self-respect. but certainly not negative. Sarbajaya is more realistic and practical. which motivates him to keep going. compared to Harihar.

49 and throws her out of the house shows her absolutely hatred for dishonesty and the importance of self-respect. She is the most neglected member of the family. respect and care for her. Over the years of her stay with Apu‘s family. the viewers get a glimpse of the simplicity and aspirations of the woman. On the threshold of second childishness. She is practically the head of the family. The extreme poverty and grief has made her suppress her feelings and live a life which just revolves around ensuring a better future for her kids. At times when Sarbajaya forces her to leave their household. She gives a balance to the dreamer Harihar‘s life and being. the era gone by and the times that are to come. disrespected by Sarbajaya. she goes and lives with some other family of the village only to come back later. due to the financial crunch and the deprivation that has become a common part of the family. Indir Thakrun: Perhaps the most lovable character of the film. However. . She keeps shifting places. In a touching scene where Sarbajaya talks to her husband about the wants and desires she had while stepping foot into his world. she has grown to share a special bond with them Indir Thankrun is very fond of Durga as she is the one who fulfills and listens to all his whims and fancies. Indir Thankrun wants everyone to shower their attention on her and to show love. Indir Thakrun establishes the link between the old and the new. his household. She treats Durga like her own daughter. she is often ignored infact.

Due to the pressing problems that the family goes through they show a disregard for Indir Thankrun. especially in times of crisis. Like this.50 Ray brilliantly shows the interrelationship between money and love through Indir Thakrun‘s character. who eventually dies at a bamboo grove. the neighbours double up as extended family. Satyajit Ray succeeded in painting a true to life picture of rural Bengal with near perfection. . Her death also marks the end of an era. where inspite of differences and hard-feelings. a sort of a new beginning for the family in the film.

Similarly. He chose Chunibala Devi. Ray had to hunt for the right actor to essay the role of Apu on screen. Establishing the film as a real ‗panchali‘. who was a stage actress of the IPTA. The rest of the starcast comprised amateurs and non-professionals. Closely following the Italian Neorealist school of aesthetics. The role of Sarbajaya was played by Ray‘s friend‘s wife. was spotted by Ray‘s wife in their neighbourhood to play Apu. He published ads in newspapers and eventually Subir Bannerjee. The most challenging thing in terms of casting ahead of Satyajit Ray was finding a suitable actress to play Indir Thakrun on screen.51 AESTHETICS: Although shot in a shoe-string budget. The quaint. lingering shots give it a life of its own and establishes its . rural Bengali family with such power that it leaves a great impact on the viewer. Karuna Bannerjee. The way it has been filmed. the role of Durga was also played by stage-actress. Kanu Bannerjee. was the only established actor in the film.which means a folk-song or ballad in Bengali starts right fom the credit roll which is hand-written on white paper. true to life account of a poor. little village road has been used as a metaphor of life in the film. the film presents the grim. who played the role of Harihar. through long. He did not want to cast an experienced child-actor. Ray chose to go ahead with casting newcomers and non-professionals in key-roles. the father. a former stage actress living in a brothel to finally portray the role. Uma Dasgupta.

which represents the loss. Durga and Apu ‗discover‘ the dead-body of their aunt amidst the forest. The entire sequence is devoid of emotional outbursts and melodrama. First is the death of Indir Thakrun in the bamboo grove. it represents happiness in the form of young Apu who goes around running all over the road every time his father writes back home. Shot in a manner that builds mystery. After several such attempts. which Ray has mastered in the film. Ray zooms on to the vessel floating in the water. As Durga spots Indir Thakrun sitting all by herself in the forest. Going out of the realm of clichéd representation. infact makes it . A case in point is the two death scenes that Ray has dealt with in the film. she makes repeated efforts to draw the attention of her beloved aunt. The road stands testimony to the family‘s trials and tribulations. The next scene is of a procession where the villagers take Thakrun‘s body for cremation. Ray has depicted events and happenings as they are. it represents the family‘s sorrow when the dead-body of Indir Thankrun is taken away through that road.52 being. without even a hint of melodrama. which. When that does not garner a reply. the spirit set free of the body. truly. The road therefore. deprivation and poverty is very tough job indeed. it represents the sweet bond that the brother-sister duo share when they follow the candy-seller together on the same village road. The avoidance of melodrama in a movie that in essence talks about death. portrays all the colors and hues of the life that family leads. she leans forward towards her and calls out ‗pishi‘. Indir Thakrun‘s crippled body falls flat on the ground and the water container that she usually carries with herself falls in a puddle of water with a thud. and of course it represents the family‘s detachment and disillusionment with village life in the final scene when they decide to leave for Benaras. It represents the family‘s hope when Harihar treads the village path to look for new opportunities.

the aunt who had come to Harihar Ray and his wife Sarbajaya's house to die. Ray succeeds in presenting the starkness. the weather suddenly goes from bad to worse. belief and destiny. with her mother by her side. but can‘t. Strong and innovatively written scenes and breaking the mould of stereotypical reaction to death is what makes these two scenes so moving and powerful. Ray shows the idols of Lord Ganesha. ―Didi ghoomoche?‖. Subsequent viewing of the . harshness and brutal reality of death as morbidly as ever.53 more hard-hitting. As Apu calls out to her neighbour saying that his mother is worried about her sister and needs help. This style of avoiding melodrama and presenting situations as they are was new to Bengali cinema at that point in time. As the nature‘s fury grows darker and more destructive. strong. Durga‘s mother tries hard to save her daughter. Recounting a defining scene of the film. ―I do believe it was the offer of a guava by Durga to old Indir Thakrun. destructive. God‘s wish and fate. we see Durga dead as the neigbourhood woman reaches their house. critic Vijay Mishra compares Ray‘s sensitivity towards filmmaking to Vittorio De Sica‘s. Sarbajaya sits shattered besides Durga‘s deadbody. (Is my sister sleeping?) as the mother. Apu innocently asks her. shaking and the light of the diya flickering because of the strong winds. Ray draws a straight metaphor between nature‘s fury and death. almost representing death. harsh wind starts blowing and knocking at their doorstep. In the second death scene of the film. symbolizing the conflict between the good and the evil. As Durga lies on her bed. which happens to be Durga‘s.

Sitar and flute are the main instruments used in the background score of the film. unable to control her anger. momentarily frozen. redeemed for me the film. In the scene when Sarbajaya. Here the camera was simply observing an offer and a response. The strong music piece used at Durga‘s death scene signifying the harshness of nature makes the scene heightens the impact of the film. The image. The background score of the film is an eclectic mix of different ragas of Indian classical music. particularly the candy-seller chase sequence. It is a touching image. but not done with the kind of sentimentality or excessive purging of emotion I had come to associate with popular Indian cinema. like a ritualistic act. which plays a great role in carrying this film forward. Ravi Shankar builds up beautiful tempo in most of the scenes of the film. starts slapping Durga for her petty cries. where the playful music perfectly supports the awe-inspiring visual imagery. .54 film now reinforces that memory. was much more immediate‖ Moving over to the background music. the loud. I had seen this in De Sica's Bicycle Thieves. and here for once a new kind of realism.we get to hear a few verses of the song that establishes a connect between the senile age woman and God. It was a point of contact with the possibilities entertained in some of the Indian films I had seen. but the impact. The tune of ―Probhu din je gelo shondha holo‖ plays mostly during the scenes featuring Indir Thakrun and finally when she dies. the neo-realism of the Italian masters. because of my own cultural upbringing. was being used for Indian effects. The background music beautifully supports the story of the film. Pather Panchali is one of Pandit Ravi Shankar‘s earliest films and the renditions of sitar give its music a very haunting quality.

therefore. easy-going feel about it. Ray has brilliantly drawn parallels with the story that is being told and the character of Indir Thakrun through an interesting game . Ray has been quoted as saying that he chose to shoot the film in a ramblings as he wanted to depict the true essence of rural Bengal. Long takes and minimal editing gives the viewers a chance to live the film. starts reading the letter written by Harihar. it has a very languid. In a scene where Sarbajaya. Even towards the end of the film. Ray uses light and shadow cleverly. especially. In terms of pace of the film. to experience the film. Natural lighting has been used and Ray has used lighting as an important visual signifier. takes its time in getting the viewers acquainted with the nittygritties of the life of the family that the viewers are going to witness for the rest of the movie. representing how the news filled her heart and their lives with joy. we see Sarbajaya move from darkness to light. has not at any point. The light here is a metaphor for joy and hope. been used as a gimmick. Ray has also worked up an interesting interplay of lights and shadows in the film.55 background score and muted dialogue is symbolic of the anger that Sarbajaya is experiencing. The background score supports and supplements the story well. The first half of the film. when Sarbajaya breaks the news of Durga‘s death to Harihar. in the scene where Indir Thakrun recites a Bengali folk-story to Durga and Apu. As Sarbajaya reads the words that Harihar has managed to find a good employment opportunity and plans to come back home in a few days. Similarly. Ray decides to mute the dialogue again the strong music of Ravi Shankar takes over and hits the viewers hard making them feel the pain and anguish that the protagonists are feeling. distraught with the conditions of her household. which exists in rambles. The music.

the invitation of the cities. Sarbajaya‘s saarees. The sequence where the kids spot a candy-seller and follow him to the other side of the village boasts of some great visual appeal.56 of light. truly is a landmark film in the ‗Indian Neorealism Movement‘. leaving behind a trail of dark smoke and signifying the change that is to come. The emphasis on details. . The cinematography also shines through in the ‗train scene‘. the long walk down the village road. The cinematography by debutant cinematographer Subrata Mitra is brilliant and the fact that the camera is inconspicuous at the same time so much in notice was a first in Indian cinema. shadow and voice-overs. Right from capturing Durga‘s expressions of astonishment and surprise when she hears a distant noise of the train engine to the shots where the train passes through their village. crossing the river while we get to see their reflections on the river water makes the sequence come alive and gives the viewers a feeling of being a part of the procession along with Apu and Durga. everything adds up to the overall feel of the film and makes it more of an experience of seeing the reflection of one‘s own life on screen that a constructed film. the ornaments and vessels. Subrata Mistra does a brilliant job indeed as a debutante technician. The pied-piper‘ effect that the candyseller has on Durga and Apu. such as the tattered blanket of Indir Thankrun. Pather Panchali. It is truly representative of the ‗poetic realism‘ that Satyajit Ray is revered for introducing in cinema.

in its realistic portrayal of life of the family after the death of the primary bread-earner. The Unvanquished Year of Release: 1956 The second part of Satyajit Ray‘s neorealist Apu Trilogy. It traces the Apu‘s journey from childhood to adolescence. his moving away from home and his growing estrangement from his mother. Aparajito. Apu‘s hunger for education and knowledge comes through in the second part of the trilogy. Aparajito draws from the last part of Bibhutibhushan Bandhapadhyay‘s Pather Panchali and the first half of his second novel. Aparajito sees Ray capture the process of departure. the father of Apur Sansar. because of the sensitivity with which the director has shown the . Ray focuses his attention on depicting the emerging ‗modern India‘. the man.57 ANALYSIS 2: Aparajito. While Pather Panchali saw Ray exploring the intricacies of life in rural Bengal. vis-à-vis his quest for knowledge. shifting between village and city life. establishing his character as a progressive young boy of the Nehruvian modern India. The film acts like a bridge connecting the child Apu of Pather Panchali fame to Apu. Sarbajaya. Through adolescent Apu‘s disenchantment and disillusionment with traditional village life and his complete lack of interest in following his father‘s occupation of being a priest. The themes of moving away from home in the quest for education and a better life is timeless and perhaps that is the reason why Aparajito is a film that one would be able to relate to even in today‘s fast-paced life. The charm of Aparajito lies in its depiction of the beautiful city of Benaras.

yet the themes and emotions embedded in the narrative are strikingly relevant to modern Western society (thus explaining why it is called a "timeless classic")…Aparajito is an amazing motion picture. Its rich. ―Aparajito was filmed forty years ago. Aparajito should not be missed. Yet. James Berardinelli writes. science and literature. poetic composition is perfectly wed to the sublime emotional resonance of the narrative. for those who missed Ray's earlier effort. which finally results in her death." More than just bridging the first and last films of the Apu Trilogy. On its own or as part of the Apu Trilogy. . Aparajito is a complete film in itself. this film loses none of its impact. half way around the world. For those who have seen Pather Panchali. with the coming in of Western education.58 growing distance between Apu and his mother. As famous critic. Aparajito stands out because of its perfect blend of eastern and western sensibilities and most importantly for its sheer simplicity. Aparajito provides a nearly-flawless continuation of the journey begun there. A film that perfectly and captures the era of transformation that India was going through.

following the incidents that the audience witnessed in Pather Panchali. where their relative initiates Apu to priesthood. His family. Ray brilliantly captures the ghats. in the first half of the film. Harihar works as a priest and earns a meager income. The mother. and architecture of the holy city. The family where the mother and son work decides to move to a new place and persuade Sabajaya and Apu to join them. Apu shows a complete disregard for the profession and one day while chasing a group of happy children to their school decides that he wants to go to . has now moved to Benaras (Varanasi) in search of a better life and better opportunities. takes her son along to their ancestral village. Sarbajaya takes over the family‘s responsibilities after the death of her husband. while Sarbajaya looks after the household. Apu also helps her out with daily chores at the house-hold where she works. One day Harihar collapses at the ghat and is brought home. temples. Financial and monetary concerns force her to take up the job of a maid. therefore. He falls sick and the family goes through a rough patch. Harihar soon breathes his last breaths as Sarbajaya sends Apu to fetch a glass of holy Ganges water for his dying father. Sarbajaya agrees but later changes her mind as she visualizes Apu‘s future as a servant.59 PLOT SUMMARY: The film opens with Apu exploring the bylanes of the holy-city of Benaras.

We see Apu treading the familiar quaint. is not all positive. while studying in the days and working at a printing place at night. symbolizing the process of his ‗moving on with life‘. Apu proves to be a very hardworking and diligent student and wins a scholarship to pursuer higher education in Calcutta. however. does not deter him or change the course of his life. On hearing the ‗good-news‘. only to be disappointed. however. As Apu‘s visits to his village decreases and the distance between him and his mother increases. Apu however. in the climax of the film. on the other side. Sarbajaya dies in a mysteriously crafted death scene. On one side where the village boy Apu learns to live independently and on his own. . manages to convince Sarbajaya and soon leaves for Calcutta. Apu moulds into an independent and modern young adult. this ensures his constant estrangement with his mother who awaits his visits back home in their village. Sarbajaya decides to send him off to school. The city opens up several opportunities for Apu.60 school. The loss. On Apu‘s insistence. She is scared of being lonely and the well-being of Apu. He lives alone in an unknown city. Sarbajaya grows wary of sending her son to an unknown place. Apu returns to an empty home on hearing about his mother‘s ill health and is immersed in the pain of losing his mother. little village road. The change.

like the priest who accompanies Harihar to the family‘s home also develop a liking for him because of his sweet and adorable nature. nature-loving and observant child. Apu comes across as a progressive individual who shows disregard for his . he gains more prominence in Aparajito. who played a major role in Pather Panchali. He is the apple of his parents eyes and their lives revolve around him. Apu is now on his own and loves exploring the town that is unknown to him. Strangers. The first half of the film gives the viewers an opportunity to see and explore the holy city of Benaras through the character of Apu. the sciences and literature held utmost importance. his elder sister. for whom Western education. Apu is shown as a sensitive. the audience travels with Apu and gets acquainted with the town that is now home for Apu and his family. The film can be seen as the starting point from where Apu takes over the responsibility of carrying the story forward. As he wanders around the ghat. observing priests and other people. In the absence of Durga. loiters around in the temples feeding monkeys. and roams around in the bylanes of the city. The adolescent Apu represents the generation of emerging ‗modern Indians‘. Apu‘s quest for knowledge and pursuing formal education is more overt in Aparajito than it was in Pather Panchali.61 CHARACTERIZATION: Apu: While Apu was just one of the main characters in Pather Panchali.

on the other-hand. who is disenchanted with the poverty and backward life of rural Bengal wants to move forward in life. Although the character of Sarbajaya had hints of selfishness in Pather Panchali. Towards the end of the film when Apu realizes that he has been orphaned and he has no one to go back to. She is a doting mother. instead he decides to move ahead in life. the true house-wife of that day and age. At the same time.62 priesthood. The adolescent Apu. who are on the threshold of adult life. The process of estrangement that Apu and his mother go through is also a metaphor for Apu‘s breaking free at some level. The dilemmas. The fact that he talks to his mother about his desire to join a school and later argues with her to go to Calcutta for pursuing higher education shows how ambitious Apu is and how he strives hard to achieve his goals. she takes up the charge of managing the household entirely on her own. it also signifies his step towards manhood. which he is forcibly initiated into. The journey his character embarks upon in the last shot of the film. Sarbajaya epitomizes the real. Sarbajaya:. wants to chart his own course. the confusions that Apu goes through are typical of almost all youngsters his age. he does not break down or give it all up.The other central character of the film Aparajito is Sarbajaya. After the death of her husband. Aparajito sees the ‗selfless‘ side of Sarbajaya. a dutiful wife looks after the entire household. on one hand signifies his step ahead towards city-life to where now belongs. particularly in the way she dealt with Indir Thakrun. there does exist a chord that binds him with his mother and this is evident from the dilemmas he faces on issues like smoking or bunking school. She works as a maid and tries all that she can just to .

she does not allow her neighbours to inform Apu about her illness so that he doesn‘t worry. and in particularly. whichwas introduced early on in Pather Panchali in the scene where she rejects taking monetary help from her neighbours. She feels lonely and . All through the film. rather Ray sensitively portrays the family. melodramatic emotions. Both these instances show the the self-respecting and dignified side of Sarbajaya‘s personality. about moving on and Sarbajaya‘s character also represents this perfectly. Even when she falls seriously ill. she makes a quick decision of quitting the job and settling at the village with her son as the very thought of her son growing up to be a servant is discomforting for her. where the landlord tries to make a pass at her while Harihar is unwell. Apu has a good future. She turns and scares him by picking up a dagger. Sarbajaya‘s decision to look ahead and search for the silver lining. symbolic of the ‗shakti‘ avatar of the Goddess. Sarbajaya‘s character does not show any over the top. The second half of the film shows the growing distance between Sarbajaya and Apu and the resultant sorrow and pain that Sarbajaya has to go through. Dignity is the most important virtue of Sarbajaya‘s character. in essence is a film about journey. In a scene from Aparajito. In yet another scene. Sarbajaya‘s reaction is very strong. She suppresses her feelings and her fear of being lonely to send her son to study in Calcuta. Aparajito. Sarbajaya makes compromises and arrangements to see her son happy. where she sees the owner of the house where she works as the maid ordering Apu around.63 ensure that her son. After the death of the husband.

.64 religiously awaits her son‘s arrival from the city. which unfortunately does not happen as often as she would like. Yet at no point in the film does she force Apu to leave everything and come back home. Her character in Aparajito. has tremendous strength and dignity. like in the previous film.

65 THEMES: Critic Robin Wood talked about how the first film of the Apu Trilogy. Aparajito. Aparajito stands out because . ―We may be rooted in a remote corner of Bengal but that does not mean our minds should be confined here. Although the adolescent Apu loves and respects his mother in own way. Darker than all the other films of the trilogy. Throughout the film. Wood ―had no understanding of the dep bonds between mothers and sons in India‖. while encouraging him to read more books.‖ perfectly sets the tone of the movie Aparajito. the film explores Apu‘s yearning to break free. It‘s a film about evolvement. Woods prediction comes true to a large extent. Some prominent Indian critics did not appreciate this remark and retorted that as a westerner. in the second part of the tilogy. A dialogue in the film spoken by the headmaster of Apu‘s school. He does not find anything interesting or inspiring about being a priest either and the scene where he comes back after doing Puja and rushes off to play like other children his age reflect the restlessness. like the village life. progress. but at the same time. has a few cues which indicate that Apu will eventually break away from his mother‘s way fo life and head down the modern road. moving ahead. Things that once enthralled Apu. the freedom that Apu so desires. now bore him. changes and the consequences of those changes. Pather Panchali. Apu tries to break away and evolves as an individual who wants to live life on his own terms.

‖ Ray‘s no frills depiction of Apu‘s dilemmas. The story about the growing distance between a mother and a son. ―Oedipal tension that all men must. in the case of Aparajito. The loss of his parents and the agony of Apu‘s . Apu goes to catch the train to the city but eventually does not and goes back home to spend one more day with his mother.66 of its treatment. Ray manages to express Apu‘s emotions perfectly. There is an inherent logic in the build-up of this estrangement that forms the central theme of Aparajito. Whereas in one scene where Apu‘s mother is complaining about her deteriorating health while Apu ignores her and dozes off. like a leaf dropping from the tree in autumn. These two scenes. Circumstances and situations make the characters of the film react in a certain way. here are no clear demarcations between the hero and the villain. the negative and the positive. as author Dasgupts writes. As author Chidanand Dasgupta writes. So. overcome. the story that challenges the ‗ideal‘ relationship that should exist between a dotting mother and her child. She must obey life‘s inexorable laws and go. sort of ‗balance each other out‘. However. for instance. Apu‘s release is perhaps more important than the poignancy of his mother‘s death. in the very next sequence. Again. his worries and the oedipal tension that he must overcome appeared so real that no one could negate the possibility of the events that took place in the film. in their growth. Therefore. the humanistic philosophy that Ray believed in made him mould the film in such a way that it seemed more like the story of every young boy‘s life. as the young-adult who is torn between his love for his mother and his dedication to his education and ambition. Sarbajaya‘s sorrow is as inevitable as her son‘s indifference. Aparajito could easily turn pessimistic or even negative.

which focuses particularly. is all that Aparajito holds. .67 survival in body and in spirit. Yet the sheer palpability of Apu‘s emotional growth overwhelms us. by way of action.‖ The second part of the film. The journey that Apu takes upon from adolescence to manhood and the dilemmas and resistance he has to face is what the central theme of Aparajito is. Satyajit Ray also manages to infuse his own brand of humor in the form of characters such as the school inspector and Apu‘s carefree best friend. on the growing-distance between the mother and son. therefore. stands out as the most heart-rending part of the film. Pulu.

The pace of the film has a repetitive and rambling charm of its own. In the scene where Apu goes to board the train. The to and fro journey that Apu takes upon through the train in order to shuttle between Calcutta and the village where his mother lives draws a parallel between the train and the ‗distance‘ that Apu travels away from his mother and the warmth of his home. Pather Panchali.68 AESTHETICS:Ray chooses to start the film with the shot of a train on a bridge. establishing the ‗journey‘ metaphor of Pather Panchali early on in Aparajito. but later decides to stay back and spend one more day with his mother yet again establishes a correlation between the train and Apu‘s emotional upheavals. but . important to those who lose. The visual metaphor of the train that Ray uses as an important aesthetic tool in the Apu Trilogy continues throughout Aparajito as well. Ray zoomes on to her face and we see the juxtaposition of the train shot again symbolizing her decision to move to the village with her son Apu in order to ensure a better future for him. When Sarbajaya sees Apu lighting up the hukkah of the owner of the house where she works. ―It is the only film in which Ray repeats both elements within the film itself and elements from the previous film. In the words of author Chidanand Dasgupta. the link that Aparajito forms between the first and the last parts of the Apu Trilogy. The shot also establishes the connect. It is the repetition which builds the rhythm of life in Benaras and register Harihar‘s death as a part of its flux. like thousands of deaths before it.

The architecture of the temples. . The flock of pigeons is also shown at the beginning of the film in order to establish a link between them and Harihar and his family. Apu‘s father lies on the death bed. Harihar breathes his last breath. paint a near-perfect picture of life in the holy city. the rituals. therefore. Ray fantastically captures the essence and verve of Benaras. The non-melodramatic death scenes of the movie. Sarbajaya sends Apu to fetch Ganges water for him. The ghat scenes. Ray forms a link between the birds and human soul. As Apu helps his father drink the holy water. growing up and estrangement. the locales. By using the same visual imagery of pigeons. the purity of Ganges. plays an important part in this subtle and sensitively told story of ambition. Symbolism. the white sarees of the widows symbolizing morbidity and melancholy. ― The depiction of the holy-city of Benaras is what the film deserves special mention for. who inhabit the holy city. As Harihar. primarily stand out for the creative use of symbolism. From showcasing the life of the priests at the ghats to the beautiful temples. A fine economy of expression makes an epic out of a two-hour long film. by making great use of natural lights and locations. The scene is absolutely devoid of melodrama and is one of the most creatively and realistically handled death-scenes in Indian cinema. The very next shot is that of pigeons flying all across the Benaras skyline.69 insignificant in the cosmic cycle. in particular stand out for literally transporting the viewers to the holy city of Benaras. filled with dark-clouds. this time flying away and with harsh music in the background.

Apu‘s best-friend in the film. who at some level. to the scene where he offers Apu a cigarette. Through the scenes where Pulu plans foreign trips with Apu. hallucinating that he has returned to live with his mother. had them dressed up in black shirt and trousers and let each of them carry a flashlight bulb and a length of wire and a battery. The bulbs were held aloft in their right hands while they illustrated the swirling movements of fireflies in a dance. alternately connecting and disconnecting the wire to the bulbs" Similarly. Even through the character of Pulu. The background music of the film is very apt and completely flows as the events unfold. is responsible for Apu‘s breaking away from his home and his mother. Karuna Bannerjee. The globe that Apu‘s teacher gives him before he leaves for Calcutta is representative of the ‗new world‘ that he is going to enter. . in essence. Ray tries to establish a sort of a mediator between him and the ‗Western world‘. is more poetic. her gaze express the longing. waiting for Apu. Pulu‘s role as a ‗change agent‘ in Apu‘s life. the actress who played Sarbajaya has emoted beautifully in this sequence. in other scenes and at other points in the film.70 Sarbajaya‘s ‗mysterious‘ death scene. Ray talks about the difficulties he had to face while shooting this particular scene in "We chose the toughest members of our crew. as an influencer. The way Apu obsesses over the globe and keeps admiring it all through his train journey symbolizes the excitement he has for exploring his own little world. She dies at her doorsteps. the lonliness that she has had to go through perfectly. gazing at fire-flies that fly all over. Ray uses metaphors and symbols intelligently. Her eyes. is more than obvious.

Karuna Banerjee shines through yet again in this film in the role of the self-sacrificing mother. The fresh face of Smaran Ghoshal as adolescent Apu gives Aparajito the real spark. Ghoshal gives a powerful performance and effortlessly emotes the angst. unique and awe-inspiring. pain. confusion and love that Aparajito goes through as he steps on the threshold of adulthood. In terms of performances. Sarbajaya. The philosophical depth and emotional directness of Aparajito is what makes this simple story of events unfolding in the life of an ambitious and modern young-adult.71 Ravi Shankar has used mesmerizing vedic chants as background scores in the first half of the film set in Benaras. Ravi Shankar experiments and mixes in a very traditional Indian score which compliments Ray‘s masterpiece. The vibrations produced by the chants further add up to the realistic appeal of showcasing the holy city. . Overall.

Kajol. Apur Sansar. Apur Sansar is about Apu‘s emotional and philosophical growth and the transitions he goes through. through his . The film is complete in itself and will not appear and will make sense to a viewer even if he/she has not seen the earlier films of the trilogy. Rooted in the reality of 1930s Calcutta. It is the structure of the film that mainly binds the film perfectly and gives it an identity beyond being the last installment of the Apu trilogy. As the name suggests.Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) Year of Release: 1959 Apur Sansar marks the end of Ray‘s Apu Trilogy. is a film that truly revolves around Apu and his family. While Pather Panchali saw the birth of the bright. Apur Sansar. Apur Sansar is one of Ray‘s most personal and emotional works till date. who he blamed for the death of Aparna. Ray took a two-years break after the release of Aparajito to make the concluding part of the Apu Trilogy. Apur Sansar sees Apu complete the cycle of this journey from boyhood to manhood. Based firmly on neorealist foundations.72 Analysis 3:. young child Apu in a poor family of rural Bengal and Aparajito saw Apu move to the city of Kolkata in his quest for knowledge. the film shines because of the very natural and logical progression and unfolding of events. Tracing the life of bachelor Apurbo to the time he marries Aparna and starts a family with her to his renunciation of family-life post Aparna‘s death and his eventual acceptance of his son. Ray.

Apu‘s childhood friend. Having nothing better to do at that point of time. who we have seen in Aparajito as well. He reaches the village with Pulu.73 mastery over symbolic representation expresses Apu‘s disillusionment with urban life and his proverbial ‗going back to his roots‘. there is just one positive thing happening in Apu‘s life. who partly. The film. Due to the superstitions and stigmas that existed in Indian society at that point of time. Apurbo who is on a desperately on the lookout for employment. Pulu. On the day of the wedding. He is unable to complete his education. essentially. The recommendation letter is now Apu‘s last resort at getting employment. the bride‘s family realizes that the groom is mentally unsound and therefore. which is the auto-biographical novel that he is passionately writing. Apu finds himself either under-educated or over-educated for the random jobs that je applies for. hopes beyond hope to find employment and solve all his problems one day capitalizing on his literary talents. Aparajito. is divided into three sections. Aparna‘s mother calls off the wedding. the family . The first section introduces us to the adult Apu. which was his primary goal in the film. meets Apu and invites him for his cousin Aparna‘s marriage. Apu agrees to go for the wedding. One day. Overdue rent and other expenses force Apu to part with some of his post cherished books as well. PLOT SUMMARY: The film opens with a sequence where we see Apu receiving a recommendation letter from his professor. With the scarce opportunities that are available. like his father Harihar in the first installment of the trilogy.

Both of them. Due to Apu‘s closeness with Pulu and in order to save Aparna from the wrath of people. Kajol responsible for Aparna‘s death and refuses to assume the responsibilities of a father. Pulu makes Apu come back to reality and makes him realize his duty as a father. Aparna. The last shot of the film shows Apu. Calcutta. She does not complain of any discomfort or problems. Ray crafts a beautiful tale of love that blossoms between the protagonists after their marriage. with her unemployed husband. along with Kajol. He renounces family life and goes all out to live the life of a wanderer. Apu goes back to Aparna‘s father and takes Kajol along with him. Aparna‘s death leaves Apu heart-broken and completely numb. who belongs to a rich family of rural Bengal tries to settle down in the big city. The second part of the film focuses on the relationship between Apu and Aparna. leads to their home. come closer and he compromises give way to love. Apu gets married to her. is not long-lasting and the story soon changes gears to a tragic tale with Aparna‘s death during child-birth. Apu contantly feels guilty for marrying Aparna into a life of discomfort. . Kajol continues to live with his grand=parents. sitting on top of Apu‘s shoulders on the ‗way back home‘. The father and son reunite and venture on a journey that unlike other films. Time flies and one day.74 considers this event as inauspicious. Apu. The togetherness however. gradually. He cannot bring himself back to reality and gives up everything. Apu‘s only form of contact with Kajol is in the form of the money-orders that he sends him. He holds their child. and force Apu to marry Aparna.

his only hope is the letter of recommendation that a professor writes for him. The most striking thing about Apu in Apur Sansar is the similarity between him and his father Harihar in Pather Panchali. ―'sensitive. Apu is not able to complete his education and therefore. Although. continues to remain in touch with things that enchanted him in his childhood.75 CHARACTERIZATION: Apu: Apurbo is the central character of the film and the film spans over his growth from being an unemployed youngster in the chaotic city of Calcutta to being a responsible father. the scene where Apu is shown to relax under the tree in . this carefree side to Apu soon goes through a major transformation as events unfold in the film. Apu‘s relationship with nature plays an important role in the trilogy and even in the last installment. like his father Harihar harbours literary dreams and holds his dream project. conscientious and diligent‖ perfectly define Apurbo. he at some level. this relationship is explored. The adjectives used by Apu‘s professor to describe him in the letter. The scene where Apu fills his bucket with rain-water and takes a bath in the rain or for instance. Apu. which is his semi-autobiographical novel very close his own little dream world where he sees himself getting his book published one day and living a respectful life. Literature is his passion. Although Apu has not detached himself from the life he led in his village through the period of transition that he went through in Aparajito.

Apu‘s initial conversations with Aparna are marked by his guilt of not being able to provide her the life of luxury that she had been living at her parents‘ house. pursue Apu to marry Aparna. His interest in literature. but out of sympathy for a girl who would have had to live the life of a spinster had Apu not accepted the proposal. Apu embodies the perfect ‗modern Indian‘ in the first part of the film. irrespective of the chaotic urban life that he leads. in his quest for knowledge and while dealing with all the other problems of his life. and the later part of the film where Apu becomes a wanderer and roams around from one destination to another in search of his soul. had . Apu shows his disrespect for their backwardness and expresses concern for Aparna. symbolic of his liberal. His marriage with Aparna was not out of love. his dreams of making it big one day and his overall detachment with rural life are representative of this aspect of his personality.76 the village where everyone else in engaged in the different rituals of Aparna‘s marriage. Apu‘s character goes through a major change after marriage. poetry and music. The happy-g-lucky Apu. in search of his love Aparna. The concerns he expresses and the efforts he puts in to ensure a better future for Aparna shows the growing amount of responsibility on Apu‘s part. accompanied by other village folks. Getting married to a girl like Aparna suddenly jolts him back to reality where he comes to terms with his unemployment and poverty. Aparna‘s entry in Apu‘s life also symbolizes the arrival of romance in his life. all testify the strong bond that Apu continues to share with nature. the dreamer Apu realizes his responsibilities towards Aparna. in search of a peace. Apu. In the scene where Pulu. urban self.

at a subconscious level. somehow. goes through. he is somewhere attached to his son. testifies that he did care for him all through. . the God-seeking holy man who renounces society out of world-weariness and spiritual longing. as a father. ―Apu thus invokes the Western stereotypes of the wanderer as well as its Indian counterpart. Aparna‘s death totally shatters Apu and he renounces family and life altogether. It is this reason which gives rise to the dilemmas that Apu. He sends money to Kajol through money-orders. As author Suranjan Ganguly points out.‖ While he lives his life as a wanderer. The period of renunciation shows up an entirely different side to Apu. Kajol as he keeps taking up random jobs wherever he goes to ensure a steady flow of income. The sudden news of Aparna‘s death post childbirth makes him blame Kajol for the unfortunate event. which. His friend Pulu‘s amazement at the mention of a romantic element to Apu‘s autobiographical novel brings forth this fact and so does the scene where Apu quickly draws the curtains of his window when he notices a girl in his neighbourhood admiring him while he‘s playing flute.77 perhaps never even given romantic relationships a thought. The character of Apu goes through the most difficult crisis in coping up with the death of Aparna. He cannot bring himself to assume his paternal responsibilities because of the pain and the sense of void that Aparna‘s death has caused. Aparna showers her love on Apu and the relationship that started of as a mere compromise grows into unconditional and eternal love. The main thing that separates Apu from his son is his love for Aparna. Apu even tears up the pages of his most cherished manuscript as nothing seems to matter to him more than Aparna.

rode a bull and kept the company of ghosts. The character truly comes a full circle in the final installment of the Apu Trilogy and has been essayed very sensitively and beautifully by debutant actor. It also shows us a very protective side of Apu. even though he was a bit of a vagabond bohemian. Apurbo. Aparna: As the girl who comes to know that her groom is mentally unsound on the day of her marriage and is forced to marry a ―substitute suitor‖. in today‘s times might seem a little difficult to understand. but as author Chidanand Dasgupts rightly says. Shoumitra Chatterjee. who gets married to Apu who is unemployed and can hardly provide her with the comforts she had been used to in her father‘s house. noble and strong. would become her Lord . She belongs to a rich family in rural Bengal. Aparna‘s character is perhaps the perfect representative of the gender politics and social realities of the era gone by. Whomsoever she married.78 The last phase of the movie Apur Sansar. As the coy bride who has to suddenly accept an almost stranger as her husband. introduces the viewers to a new Apu altogether. Hindu girls worshipped Lord Shiva from their childhood and prayed for a husband like him. Aparna embodies the ‗perfect wife‘. She accepts him as he is and his ‗sansar‘ (family and world) as it is. particularly. which sees Apu reuniting with his son. handsome. in an event brought about more by fate than free will.the father. monogamous. who went on to be one of Ray‘s favourite actors to work with. the man who does not want to be an escapist anymore. In spite of all this. ―As far as Aparna was concerned. Aparna‘s character. Aparna does not show a hint of disrespect or contempt for her husband.

However. Pulu‘s success never causes a rift between him and Apu. Aparna‘s behaviour in leaving her affluence to go and live with Apu in his attic was thus. is a modern. He is Apu‘s best-friend. we saw Pulu play the role of a mediator between Apu and urban life. warmth and affection. away from petty fights . The correct behaviour was to follow him to the ends of the earth. ‗Apur sansar‟ (Apu‘s world).79 Shiva. Pulu. Pulu in Apur Sansar acts like a catalyst. but more successful than him. The same scene also draws parallels between Aparna and motherhood when she looks at a young child and her mother through the window. Aparna loves Apu a lot and does not want him to think that she is unhappy or uncomfortable in his world. Aparna enters Apu‘s life through Pulu. no matter what his circumstances. particularly establishes a connect between Aparna‘s smile and her sadness. her maternal feelings and mortality. She is shown to break-down in one scene while Apu is away giving us a glimpse of the sadness and pain she hides inside. Similarly.‖ Aparna is Apu‘s strength. liberal young man. Ray‘s strong belief in humanity and human-dignity makes Pulu and Apu‘s friendship very pure. She fills Apu‘s love with her radiance. a certain latent pain beneath her radiant and gorgeous eyes. revolves around Aparna and after her death shatters completely. after his marriage to Aparna. All through the span of Aparna‘s role. like Apu. This scene. there is a certain ‗morbid‘ element about her beauty. Pulu: Like in Aparajito. Pulu introduces Apu and Aparna in the film. In more ways than one. his confidante‘. He is also Aparna‘s cousin. far from unnatural.

like his mother Aparna. full of life are a few words that best describe Kajol. Naughty. both personally and professionally and is always beside him in times of need. it is Pulu again.80 and misunderstandings. but burst out in the scene where he pelts stone at his father and refuses to go anywhere with him. The scene where Kajol wears a mask and finally shows his face to the audiences is also reminiscent of Apu‘s ‗eye-opening‘ scene. He lives with his grandfather. where he is shown running in the forest. effervescent. is that of a catalyst and a mediator in Apu‘s life and his world. Being away from his father has created a lot of confusion in Kajol‘s heart about his father‘s identity and whereabouts. Kajol‘s relationship with the nature is highlighted in that particular scene just like Apu‘s in Pather Panchali. bottles up his emotion. at some levels. Ray also draws comparisons between Kajol and young Apu. The emphasis on taking shots where Kajol looks directly into the camera like young Apu in Pather Panchali tells us about the director‘s intent of showing things from Kajol‘s perspective and establishing the fact that Apu‘s world now revolves around Kajol. especially in Kajol‘s introductory scene. This has. made him a bit of a rebel. Pulu wants to help Apu. who is often irritated by Kajol‘s childish pranks and his naughtiness. who necessarily does and says things that he has been asked not to. Kajol: Kajol is the name of the character who plays Apu‘s son in the film. Apur Sansar. He cannot bring himself to . Towards the end of the film. Kajol. His role. therefore. who makes the father-son reunion possible.

when Kajol finally agrees to go with Apu it is because Apu says that he is Kajol‘s friend and not father. Ray therefore. . sensitively brings out the companionship. in the last scene of the film. Eventually.81 reality and accept a complete stranger as his father. the friendship of the father-son duo in the beautifully crafted last scene of the film.

A scene precedes the credit roll of the film. Ray also infuses his trade-mark humour in this story about love and family. Apur Sansar truly comes to life. unemployed man in Calcutta. Through characters such as Apu‘s colleague who gives him tips on an exciting married life to the . The scene where Apu goes to collect his recommendation letter from his professor. Ray. the audio track takes us back to those times in Calcutta where students protests and dharnas were a common affair. A simple and clever attempt by the director. Starting from a point where the viewers get to see Apu as a young. Because of the logical flow of events and Ray‘s engaging narrative style. the film takes a full circle within itself and with respect to the previous films of the Apu Trilogy. the ups and downs that he has to go through. moving on to his marriage and finally his journey towards fatherhood. does not drag at any point in time. but its also the most story oriented film. who did not like to make his political stance clear in his films. Ray makes it clear early on in the film that Apur Sansar is about Apu‘s journey. avoided showing anything else further. The movie. which sets the tone of the film.82 THEMES AND AESTHETICS: The credits roll of Apur Sansar starts is accompanied by fluctuating background music. Through this device. we get to hear voices shouting slogans as the background music. However. The professor tells him about the importance of education and as he is about to leave. however. Apur Sansar is not only the most personal film of the trilogy.

In the words of Das. the characterization of the mentally unsound groom show this aspect of Ray‘s cinematic style. the viewer even feels pity for him. Ray in . an alumnus of FTII. has been appreciated by many a critics as one of Indian cinema‘s most ethereal and eternal depiction of love. Apu and Aparna‘s love story. The friendship between Apu and Pulu and especially. innovatively shows the journey that the couple transverse from a phase of compromise to marital bliss. Ray. Rather.83 bunch of ignorant. Das. Like all masters Ray is able to overcome the limits of cultural censorship into a celebration of artistic allusion. Pune. who is also a documentary filmmaker perfectly expounds on exactly how Ray managed to do this in his review of the film. which is a characteristic of Ray and most of the neorealist film-makers is evident in Apur Sansar as well. In the beginning of the film. A strong sense of humanism. ―Ray‘s depiction of the charms of intimacy in Apur Sansar stands among the one of the restrained yet cinematically imaginative explorations of the subject. boisterous men who Apu meets for an interview. rain pouring from the torn curtain had disturbed Apu‘s sleep. In the scene of Aparna‘s arrival in the room. The changes of a curtain on a window in Apu‘s room become the signifier of the growth of the Apu-Aparna conjugal life. his portrayal is sensitive and in fact. Ray manages to fit in a dash of humour in this tale. Monish K. The groom who is a lunatic is not treated with contempt or as a laughing stock. Ray‘s understanding of each and every character in the film and the way he builds up relationships is what Apur Sansar truly stands out for. existing within the realm of censorship that existed at that point of time. at some point in the film. which forms the central theme of the film.

slowly turns and gazes at her dreamily and contently as she sets about lighting the chullah. Casting fresh faces in the film. She unties the knot. The ethereal glow of the matchstick that lights up Aparna‘s face for a fleeting moment becomes the metaphor of the transient nature of their happiness – the slow fade out of the glow is a subtle omen of the tragic future. The cigarette would later feature as an index of intimacy – Aparna would indulgently light up Apu‘s cigarette in a hackney-carriage which Apu. But now the camera pulls back from a new curtain to reveal the couple lying chastely on the bed. gave this film a certain raw appeal and both the lead actors went on to work with Ray in many of his later films. especially. Next. Apu wakes up.‖ In terms of casting. had hired to steal a moment of intimacy before she would leave to give birth to their child in her parents‘ house. Aparna wakes up and as she moves away she discovers that her aanchal is tied to Apu‘s dhoti. shows the range of the great actor. gives Apu a playful smack and sets about her daily chores. who went on to become two of India‘s most talented actors.84 one memorable close-up of her eyes framed through the same hole observing a poor mother playing with her infant. Ray introduced Shoumitro Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore. . wonderfully captures her anxiety and sadness of leaving a life of luxury and starting a new life with a stranger. There is a silent exchange between them as Apu picks out his pack of cigarettes for his habitual morning smoke only to find she has inserted a note to remind him of his promise to restrict himself to a cigarette after his meal. in a flash of extravagance. The range of emotions that Shoumitro pulled off with ease in this film. he picks up a hairclip that had slipped out of Aparna's hair during the night and wistfully turns it around between his fingers. through Apur Sansar.

Apu comes to know of Aparna‘s death all of a sudden when his brother in law lands up at his doorstep to break the news that Aparna lost her life during while delivering their child. in fact. Rather. As Apu‘s house is near the railway tracks. . metaphorically. also takes Aparna ‗away‘ from Apu. Ray slowly builds it up and brings us to a point where we believe that Aparna‘s death was actually inevitable. later on in the film.85 The use of the main visual metaphor that binds the trilogy films together. It is the last time that Apu and Aparna have a face-to-face interaction in the film. Apu‘s pent up emotions. The train goes on from being used as a poetic and lyrical to a disturbing metaphor. his angst. is very clever and creative. Ray uses the visual track of this dialogue repetitively while leading us to Aparna‘s unfortunate death. is more important and disturbing in this film. she boards the train and Apu sees her off. that is ‗the train shots‘. As she goes to stay at her father‘s house for her delivery. The use of post-synchronized sounds all through this film. his pain. his disbelief culminates into a slap. Apu‘s strong reaction in this scene where he slaps his brother in law. we often see him wake up to the sound of train-hooting. Talking of which brings us to Ray‘s depiction of death in Apur Sansar. Ray does not go the ‗melodrama way‘ in showing Aparna‘s death and the ensuing set of events. Ray shows a shocked and irritated Aparna who covers her ears in order to shut off the irritating train hoot. The train. sets the tone for the metamorphosis that Apu‘s character will go through in the rest of the film. In yet another scene. As with the rest of the trilogy films. From the mysterious morbid quality about Aparna‘s beauty to her last interaction with Apu where she told him that if he doesn‘t write letters regularly to her then ―aadi-aadi-aadi‖ (a Bengali expression of breaking bongs).

But the attempts fail when the train runs over a pig that has strayed onto the tracks. Apu‘s next move. We see a complete renunciation for urban life an familial ties. The focus on urban periphery. He then cuts to the medium close up of Apu‘s gaunt face at eye level.once the source of joy and wonder in his life. with its sense of traditional values. he loses his chance and the train rolls past him. we see Apu‘s disenchantment with everything that once appealed to him about city life. Ray brings to us an entirely unknown aspect of Apu‘s personality. can easily noticed in Apur Sansar. The camera next tracks away from him into empty space and stays there while we hear the shrill whistle of the train as it nears. is to sever all ties with the city. His growing disillusionment with the city life and urban spaces and his attempts to get away have been explained by author Suranjan Ganguly in the following words: ―We see Apu standing beside the railway tracks. The sequence ends with a shot of an industrial chimney sprouting smoke. Ray has very effectively .but that he should choose the train to do the job for him. Distracted by its shriek. It is not only ironic that Apu should decide to extinguish his consciousness. Urban solitude only exacerbates his pain and lures him towards a death under the wheels of technology. Ray opens with an extreme long shot of the tracks. The shot offers a simple yet powerful visual-equivalent of Apu‘s inner void and his desire for oblivion. We realize that alone in the city Apu is more prone to suicide than if he had lived within his community. then. waiting to throw himself under the wheels of the approaching train. where Apu comes back to his son.86 Post Aparna‘s death. with the train appearing in the distance.‖ Like this. In the last part of the film. which is also an important characteristic of Italian neorealist films. We see him as a wanderer.

the fluctuating music piece in the beginning sets the tone of the films. apart from complimenting the film is also used as a symbolic tool by Ray. Das explains this with a few examples.but there is hope. Background music by Ravi Shankar. Kajol go through. such as: ―When Apu first sees Kajol lying on the same bed where he and Aparna had spend the first night of their wedded life.87 and accurately captured the entire gamut of emotions that Apu and his son. The final freeze frame with its joyous music on the background – a variation of the Apu-Aparna theme that was used in the . Ray freezes the shot to indicate there are journeys still to be made – major scars yet to be healed . Indian folk and classical tunes have primarily been used in Apur Sansar. the soundtrack brings back the same bhatiali folk-song that had drifted in on that memorable night. is a celebration of life. yet again complements the third installment of the trilogy completely. The music of Apur Sansar. especially in the last scene of the film where it substantiates the visual imagery of a quaint. anger and disbelief when Apu does go back and tells him that he is Kajol‘s father. little village road reminiscent of the Pather Panchali road. has filmed these scenes with such detail and such sensitivity that one can actually feel like a part of Apu‘s efforts to reconcile his problems with his son‘s and the process of regeneration of his world. As discussed before. Satyajit Ray. as the index of Apu‘s a change of heart and his realization that a part of Aparna lives within little Kajol. The ‗Pather Panchali‟ theme has been effectively used in Apur Sansar as well. The closing shot of Apur Sansar where Kajol accepts Apu as a friend who carries him on his shoulders and walks towards the camera. Manish K. From Kajol‘s firm belief that one day his father will be back to his expressing hurt.

and the process of Apu‘s ‗getting caught‘ in their words and finally being forced to say. The climax of Apur Sansar is the peak point of the film. accompanied by other village people.88 hackney carriage sequence – thus becomes an ending that points to the beginning of a new journey. the scene where Apu tears off pages of his manuscript and throws them in water and the scene where Pulu. at a level. symbolicof the narrow-mindedness of the superstitious village people at one level. will take them ‗home‘. Kajol runs towards Apu while Aparna‘s father looks on. they take on a journey. Kajol and Aparna‘s father. of ‗sansar‘. happy and relieved that now his grandson is united with his father. The camerawork of Apur Sansar particularly stands out in scenes. tries to persuade Apu to marry Aparna. As Kajol runs towards Apu. such as Apu-Aparna‘s romantic scene while returning from the cinema hall where the camera tremendously captures the beauty of Aparna‘s face lit by a match-stick. a sense of community. at another level. While the father-son due walk away and across the familiar village road. he strikes up a spontaneous friendship with him. that this time. instead of reasoning it out and forcing him to believe that he is Kajol‘s father. The presence of the three generations. As Apu tries to take Kajol along with him. It provides a perfect ending to the tale spanning three films. a sense of a shrinking frame.‖ Ray has extracted great work from most members of his film. we see a deep-focus shot of Apu. gives the scene a kind of completeness. . Ray‘s cameraman in the marriage proposal scene manages to create a sense of claustrophobia.

the journey from childhood to fatherhood. therefore. concludes the journey that the young child Apu initiated in Pather Panchali. Apu‘s journey reaches a destination or rather his world gets a new meaning in the form of his son Kajol and as Apu learns the art of achieving salvation through pain. . Apur Sansar.89 Like this.

)‖ according to writer Chidanand Dasgupta. (It took over some of the material innovations of Ray such as extensive outdoor shooting. Set in refugee camps based in suburban Calcutta.90 Italian Neorealism post Ray Italian Neorealism and Ray’s contemporaries: After Ray brought in a ‗ray of realism‘ in Indian cinema. who were his contemporaries carried the mantle of Indian neorealism forward. three years prior to Ray‘s neorealist master-piece. The film tells the story of Ramu. was one such contemporary. Pather Panchali. Ritwik Ghatak made his debut film. Ritwik Ghatak. in 1952. ―the film had occasional sparks of talent but generally followed the conventions of traditional Bengali films. the protagonist and his family grappling with poverty and post-Partition pain. mention must be made of the film he is best remembered for. made three years after Pather Panchali and obviously activated by it. realistic mise-en-scene. the film takes a close look at the life of Neeta (played by Supriya Choudhury). without being able to forge the new cinematic language which sparkled in Ajantrik. The self- . Talking about Ritwik Ghatak. Nagarik. several directors. even though it bore no resemblance to the style of Ray‘s first film. who was very close to Ray. The film is Meghe Dhaka Tara. the elimination of excessive use of filters and similar features. Overall.

The characterization of the elder-brother has been etched beautifully by Ghatak. Like most of Ghatak‘s films.91 sacrificing Neeta is the primary bread-earner of her poverty-marred family. income and livelihood that the family would have to face. The film tells a heart-wrenching tale of how relationships can change vis-à-vis monetary and material needs. loses her love to her own sister. Similarly. The film scores primarily on its aesthetics and the performances by its ―non-glitzy‖ starcast. On one hand. in all. made eight full-length films . particularly. Ghatak shows how this turns out to be her greatest disadvantage as her family constantly exploits her. Neeta. the shot where Neeta climbs down staircases after seeing her sister at her lover‘s house. Meghe Dhaka Tara highlights the woes and pains that most Bengali families faced post the Partition. She has no one to share her problems with. As the guy who is always considered ―useless‖ and never respected by his younger siblings (except for Neeta) and his parents. The use of sound. apart from her elder-brother. Ghatak has. where this fact is an advantage for her as she is able to support her family and take of them. then loses her job and ultimately loses her health when she contracts TB. on the other hand. The use of the sound of rice boiling in a pot symbolizes the conflict that goes on in the mind of Neeta‘s mother over her marriage and the resulting lack of food. the character breaks the stereotype of the conventional ‗elderbrother‘ of traditional Bengali films and also shows the interrelationship of money and respect. uses non-diegetic sounds of lashes and whips to echo the kind of hurt and pain that she is going through. in the scenes where Neeta‘s mother notices Neeta talking to her lover.

like Ghatak. Ghatak was one of the earliest masters who. After several attempts to get a job. especially overseas. the protagonist finally manages to get an interview call through his uncle. Calcutta 71 (1972) and Padatik (1973). each representing a social reality. Inspite of a cleaner‘s strike. who reminds him to wear a suit to the interview. However. Mrinal Sen made films that dealt with explicitly political subjects and added a new dimensions to ‗realistic films‘. Sen is particularly known for his highly political trilogy made at the heights of Maoist inspired Naxalite movement. he loses the suit and inadvertently loses the job as well Sen. Ritwik Ghatak never really saw the kind of popularity that Ray did. the first films of the trilogy is a simple story about an incident that takes place in an unemployed youth‘s life. In contrast to Ray. All said and done. Ray spoke positively of Ghatak‘s work and did all he could to promote his colleague. through the metaphor of the suit and the job interview. Interview. shows show India was still affected by certain colonial biases and stereotypes that existed at that point of time in independent India. was more interested in ―exposing the dark underside. Calcutta 71 is a film about different stories set against the backdrop of poverty and . which according him were detrimental to India‘s success. at large. popularly called the Calcutta trilogy. Interiew (1971). With the coming in of 1960s. he somehow manages to get a suit. younger directors like Mrinal Sen entered the circuit of neorealist filmmaking. of India‘s lower middleclass and unemployed‖ through his films. Mrinal Sen.92 in his career. along with Ray brought in a neorealist paradigm shift in Indian films. because of getting trapped in a street demolition.

such as Mrinal Sen. Mrinal Sen. Many filmmakers. FFC. His films were brutally honest and gritty. after being disillusioned by backing the same. cliché‘ Bollywood mainstream financial films. ―Padatik created quite a stir in political circles. A revolutionary movement that Indian cinema witnessed was the age of ‗middle cinema‘.‖ Through his Calcutta Trilogy and other films. from depicting problems such as poverty. is exploitation and people‘s overall attitude of indifference. The right wing groups felt that undue importance and recognition was being given to an ―anti-social‖ extremist group. who witnesses the agonies of different characters is the common link between the story. Those on the left tried to ignore the film or criticize it as indicative of right reaction and revisionism. Sen has made an attempt at unveiling the true cause of poverty. oppression and exploitation in a romanticized manner. The government funded body. in essence. according to him. A passive man. The film traces his and other characters‘ journey from being passive spectators to protestors.93 exploitation. tried to move a step further. . The use of ‗metaphors‘ is again an important facet of Sen‘s brand of realism. decided to support films with ‗different‘ plots and ‗off-beat‘ scripts.which. As Udayan Gupta writes in Jump Cut journal. Film Finance Corporation. the film stands out as an important effort at making film a forum for discussion and documentation. All said and done. Padatik: the final installment of the Calcutta trilogy is a film about a man‘s courage to question the leadership of a movement he believes in and remains loyal to.

Manthan. The film is unique in itself as it is the only film to date. Nishant and Manthan. Ankur. is also that line area which falls somewhere between the arthouse films. neorealism in India. a film that explored the subjects of economic and sexual exploitation. Ankur also marks the beginning of Benegal‘s trilogy on rural oppression. in a way. One of the most revered and respected directors belonging to this era happens to be Shyam Benegal. which he carried further with his films. with his home-state Andhra Pradesh as the backdrop. Following this trilogy. 2 and became the ‗Producers‘ of this films. the film traces the journey of a handful of villagers who lead the entire village to the path of rural empowerment. such as Bhoomika. Middle cinema. Junoon . Shabana Azmi. yet not fully entering the territory of ‗mainstream films‘. the Father of White Revolution in India. Benegal made a couple of more films. who co-wrote this film. Shyam Benegal‘s works are representative of this genre of filmmaking. dared to venture out of the strict art-house label. through the means of the village‘s fledgling dairy industry. Set in a small village in Kheda district. He is credited with introducing one of Indian cinema‘s most talented and respected actresses of all times. a movement. where a collection of over 1 lakh farmers contributed Rs. With Shyam Benegal‘s films. more than a film was Benegal‘s joint venture with Verghese Kurien. in essence. This established a special bond that the farmers shared with this film. Benegal made his debut with the much acclaimed.94 Mani Kaul and Govind Nihlani are important proponents of the ‗middle cinema‘ in India.

the film takes a close look at the role of a woman. The trilogy ends with Zubeida. His realistic films and attempts to keep evolving at every stage in life has seen him make his latest film. The 90s saw Benegal work on his second trilogy. Politics.95 and Mandi. . make the film a true-to-life account of a woman in a male-dominated Indian society. each telling a gripping tale of the social realities that existed at that time in history. Sardari Begum is about the death and the ensuing events that follow the death of a courtesan. The way the society brands Zubeida as an evil woman. who wishes to live life on her own terms vis-à-vis a patriarchal society. From fighting against her filmmaker father to be an actress to fighting with her husband (who is already married and continues his relationship with his first wife) to get a greater share of his love. in a negative light. responsible for seducing the king and ultimately driving him to his death and the society‘s constant reference to her being a part of the film-industry. The second installment. A trilogy on Muslim women in the Indian society. talked about the story of an old woman who‘s life had been virtually uprooted by India-Pakistan Partition trying to get back to her roots. important amongst which as Suraj Ka Saatwa Ghoda. Samar and Hari Bhari. Welcome to Sajjanpur. While the first part of the trilogy Mammo. while fighting against all sorts of administrative odds. known as ‗Sardari Begum‟ in the community. gender are all important ingredients that help Benegal paint a complex portrait of the patriarchal Indian society. the story of an ill-fated actress and her ‗rebellious streak‘. The film set in a fictitious village called Sajjanpur. Post his second trilogy he made films that enjoyed more critical than popular acclaim. religion.

Shyam benegal. managed to successfully garner popularity as well as critical acclaim.96 where a majority of the village population is illiterate and their dependence on the ―letterboy‖ of the village. from illiteracy to corruption. The film is loaded with messages and touches upon a large number of problems that are prevalent in rural India. From superstition to widow-remarriage. one that is humorous in part. therefore has been a great pillar to the Indian Neorealism movement in Bollywood. which have in most cases. but documents the social reality of the neglected and forgotten rural India with perfection. Shyam Benegal crafts a brilliant tale. which is quite rare in mainstream Bollywood films. An interesting and gripping and the brilliant performances by the ―non-starry‖ ensemble and main caste is what makes the film par excellence. His films. The film is special as it represents rural India to the core. played by Shreyash Talpade. . have definitely inspired a generation of new directors who have kept the flag of neorealism in India flying high.

characterizations and choosing themes that are not divorced from reality. The industry. but those that have a ‗believable and identifiable‘ storyline. glamorous sets and costumes is now full of directors who have literally brought a breath of fresh-air with them. research and reference materials and institutions such as the FTII. whose work. once known to produce the ‗formulaic. masala films‘ that capitalized on star-power.97 Neorealism in the ‘new-age’ Bollywood: Mainstream Bollywood Hindi films in India have undergone a sea-change in the last few years. Mani Ratnam is one such director. SRFTI. Roja and Bombay (originally made in Tamil) dealt with the critical and sensitive issue of terrorism and was hugely appreciated for the ‗real‘ . particularly the last decade. The availability of equipment. Two of Mani Ratnam‘s films. The entire conception of ―escapist cinema‖ seems to be fading away as the audience is preferring to and responding better to films that might not necessarily have a great star-cast. A major role here has been played by the over-all ‗democratization‘ of filmmaking in the country. amongst others have made sure that people with talent and passion for films do not feel threatened only because of the lack of a ―filmy-background‖ Neorealism has entered mainstream filmmaking and how! Contemporary Bollywood films are experimenting with narrative devices. from the early 1990s has aided this change.

essayed by Arvind Swamy. “Tu Hi Re”. Over-powering human emotions and human courage were always at the forefront in Roja. The film made clever use of metaphorism.98 portrayal of issues. the element water. released in 1998. Roja‘s life is shattered when her husband is kidnapped by a terrorist outfit who demand the release of one of their accomplice and an independent Kashmir. where Manisha runs forward to embrace Arvind. is sent off to Kashmir by the government on a classified mission. rainfall and rivers to depict strong human emotions. was the story of a young and innocent girl from a South Indian family played by newcomer Madhu. particularly. The ‗rawness‘ of Madu‘s acting and her portrayal as the de-glam girl next-door is what gave this movie its USP. where he gets kidnapped. leaving behind her ‗burkha‘. drawing parallels between love and religion. who gets married and leaves her village to lead a city life. Terrorism. Bombay. the Babri-Masjid demolition and the resulting Hindu-Muslim riots. through seas. Roja. with the backdrop of two events that had completely shaken the city of Bombay at that point of time. Rishi. and a suicide bomber played by . statehood and innocent people trapped in circumstances are some of the issues highlighted in the film. The story about the relationship of a journalist played by Shahrukh Khan. The film was originally made in Tamil and later dubbed in Hindi. Mani Ratnam‘s first Hindi film was Dil Se. was another Mani Ratnam film that beautifully brought forward the relationship of a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl. It garnered great critical and popular acclaim. The film has also used nature. Her husband. a film starring Manisha Koirala and Arvind Swamy. particularly. in one of its song sequence.

Rajiv Gandhi. Kashyap‘s fight to make his voice heard started with his debut film. two films which are distinct in their outlooks. The film about a rock-band. Guru is a film about the world of business and the nexus between business and journalism on one hand and progress and ethics on the other. He takes great care about the look of his characters for this reason and because of which he made Abhishke Bacchhan put on kilos to ‗look his part‘ in Guru.99 Manisha Koirala. Anurag Kashyap. Parasite. Although Mani Ratnam had worked with popular actors in some of his films. which is the assassination of Prime Minister. . Ratnam launched Preity Zinta in the industry. was complete in 2000 but has not seen the day of its release till today. While Yuva is a multiple-narrative film. Not only are his films unconventional and show an overall disregard for formulaic filmmaking. politics and power. by casting her as the second lead of the film. where each member wants to make it big in his/her life and chooses to take a short-cut or make a compromise. Paanch. the emphasis has always been on the characters they are essaying and he has ensured that the actor‘s persona never overpowers the film. Amongst Mani Ratnam‘s latest films are Yuva and Guru. but managed to impact and influence critics and cinephiles world wide. about youth. The film was inspired by the disturbing event that rocked the nation in early 90s. but the way he approaches his films is what makes him the fore-runner of neorealism in contemporary Bollywood. although was not a great Box-Office success. The film got into troubles because of ‗glorifying sex. defines new-age Bollywood in more ways than one.

Since the verdict was still pending for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. . Issues like caste and economic differences were at the core of the novel originally written in Bengali by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee.100 drugs and crime‘. The film elevated Kashyap‘s status manifold and established him as a director with promise. Kashyap‘s first film which saw a formal release was Black Friday. The film is a look at contemporary India. The film about the 1993 Bombay Blasts and the real events that lead to the blasts also ran into a lot of controversy before its release. as an auteur has always been against stereotypical white and black characters and ‗grey shades‘ has been his territory. Devdas is the story of self-destructive love. is an exceptional example of Kashyap‘s brand of neorealism. The film was not released in Indian theatres for two years and even days before its release. Anurag Kashyap. The novel is amongst India‘s most popular novels ever and has seen countless literary and cinematic adaptations. Audiences world-wide applauded the film for its gritty and fearless take on the terrifying event. Anurag Kashyap. where the protagonist finds refuge in alcohol after his ladylove is married off to someone else. Dev D. a petition seeking a stay was filed by the people named in the film. An allegation that Kashyap has been trying to negate for a while. Anurag Kashyap‘s latest cinematic outing. they argued that the film would bias public opinion against them and affect the courts decision. young-India and most of its characters are ‗grey‘. The court ultimately upheld the argument and the film was released. the alleged perpetrators of the crime. particularly. which he finds more in tune with contemporary social realities.

Gulaal. although is just two films old. the film definitely is coming of age! Most of the actors in the film are amateurs and new-comers.101 through his film. The films is patly based on a real life event of sex ragging that shook the nation a few years back. Kashyap. through his movies has brought in a unique ‗edgy side‘ to neorealism in India. The huge success of this film and the critical acclaim that it received further strengthens the belief that Indian neorealism has now entered mainstream Bollywood and that there had indeed been a paradigm shift. Dev D. Right from the characterization of the central characters. Be it his portrayal of the dingy. to the bringing in of sub-plots that are representative of current social events. which gives it a certain raw appeal and makes it more believable than other adaptations of the epic love-story. which will release on the 13th of March. his latest offering. has carved a niche for himself . he has managed to create an all new genre within neorealism. Kashyap‘s film rebels against the classical tragic love-story of Devdas and weaves a tale about the modern age „Dev D‟. is a hard-hitting story about a student trapped in political maneuvers and the ugly side of ragging in engineering colleges. Talking about yet another film of Anurag Kashyap. one that is an amalgamation of desi-kitsch and contemporary sensibilities. such as the MMS scandal. explores modern day relationships while referring to the broader framework of Devdas. Another new director who. the BMW case. shady bylanes of Paharganj in Dev D or his powerful representation of the verve of student politics.

right from the police to the media to the elites and non-elites. the famous and steal. Characterization and creating an emotional connect inspite of avoiding the melodrama mode is Banerjee‘s forte. As a reviewer writes about the film on Upperstall. which are pertinent issues.102 in the Indian neorealism movement. The film based on a middle-class family‘s dream to own a house takes a humorous yet moving look at the land-sharks involved in the process of property-dealing and illegal encroachments. The film. where the film is based. Lucky hobnobs with the rich. in Delhi. hi-tech visuals managed to strike a great connect with the audience primarily because of the fact that it did not underestimate the audience‘s intelligence level and its ‗slice-of-life‘ appeal. glossy promotions. who hobnobed with the rich and elite and then robbed them blind. He reaffirmed this point through his next film. The satire takes a dig at various social factors. Inspired by the true story of Lucky Singh. The ensemble cast of the film comprised a lot of ‗Mandi House‘ struggling actors who played themselves. the film is a parable of an India in flux on the cusp of it's economic revolution when traditional values battled with nouveau riche desires.com. Dibakar Bannerjee‘s first film was the much appreciated Khosla Ka Ghosla. with a twist. Oye Lucky traces the journey of Lucky Singh. which further added to the film‘s appeal. particularly. which was devoid of any big star. ―Dibakar Banerjee has set an unlikely story in a decidedly realistic . Lucky Oye! Starring Abhay Deol. Oye Lucky. The also brought forward the issue of generation gap through familial discord over the younger son‘s ambitions of shifting abroad and the patriarch‘s insistence of staying in their home-country. (who has come to be known as contemporary realistic Bollywood cinema‘s one of the most preferred actors). the Indian Robin-Hood. a their from Delhi.

103 setting and straightaway – as the film begins wave after wave of real locations. spot-on casting. social messages that sum up his style of filmmaking. have been received well by the critics as well as the audiences and this definitely points towards a positive change that has come about in the neorealism . A Wednesday explores the fear. Several other directors and artistes have helped in carrying forward this movement of Indian Neorealism. most of these films. set in the backdrop of the Indian Emergency. Dibakar‘s understanding of middle-class sensibilities has people drawing parallels between his works and the works of one of India‘s most loved directors Hrishikesh Mukherjee. If not all. the agonies of a common-man living under constant threat of terrorist activities and his decision to take control of situations around him. consciously or subconsciously. Aamir and A Wednesday are two films that bring forth different aspects of terrorism. Nishikant Kamath‘s Mumbai Meri Jaan. which documents brilliantly the aftermath of an incident of terror and how brutally it can affect the lives of people in a city. and Delhi of the present. at the same time. Although both his films. Lucky Oye might have been projected as comedies. amongst others. while Aamir is a film that questions the stereotypes associated with the ‗identity‘ of a terrorist. It is the undercurrent of thoughts. the comedic elements in Dibakar‘s films do not dominate his cinematic style. Sudhir Mishra‘s Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi. perfect lingo and everyday instances transport you to Delhi fifteen years ago. However. they were rooted in the social realities of contemporary urban Indian society. Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky.‖ Dibakar Banerjee has added his special touch of dark humour to realism.

In a deeply Indian sense of the world. has guided the cinematic style of Ray as well. the lustful man who eyes the widowed Sarbajaya in Aparajito. The Apu Trilogy incorporates most of these elements. shooting on locations and in natural lighting conditions and the respect for reality. the landlord desperately trying to get his monthly rent from Apu in Apur Sansar. about the influence Italian Neorealism had on his cinema. making a film with modest resources. Their films‘. Bicycle Thieves for motivating him to make his debut film. primarily reflected through his Apu Trilogy. social concern. is in the view of manifestation of a mother‘s concern for the well- . for instance.‖ This philosophy of humanism which is a defining characteristic of Italian Neorealist films. ―The cantankerous neighbour in Pather Panchali. ‗Our films. Considered to be one of Ray‘s most appreciated works. Vittorio De Sica‘s film. capturing the ―truth‖ of a situation. Author Chidanand Dasgupta beautifully expounds on this when he says. the trilogy stands out for its free-flowing form. He has particularly credited director. Sarbajaya‘s selfishness and her animosity towards Indir Thakrun in Pather Panchali. the filmmaker is a ―humanist‖ who believes in certain undying ―eternal‖ traits of human nature everywhere and in every age. he mentions working with new and non-professional actors. social observation.104 CONCLUSION Satyajit Ray has written in his book. are all as much a part of a pattern of the inevitability in the cycle of life as the monkeys tolling the bells of the temple in Benaras in Aparajito. Pather Panchali. Amongst the things Ray found most inspiring about Italian Neorealism. spontaneity and the inherent emphasis on humanism and the individual.

and that too by duplicating the location setting in exact photographic detail. The other two films of the trilogy followed the same aesthetic and thematic principles and thereby. by removing the ―Shonar Bangla‖ sheen. end with the Apu Trilogy. only the night scenes were shot in the studio. Ray worked on making Bandhopadhyay‘s stories more believable and true to life.105 being of her children and her household and not her self-interests. more real and at the same time retaining the purity of the vision of the original books. no song-sequence and no romance.00. like so many Italian neorealist films. through which he begins to explore the beliefs of a generation very different from his own and shifts his focus to the changing political scene in Calcutta. particularly with the Calcutta Trilogy. A paradigm shift came about in his work in the 1970s. the film was. Pather Panchali. no dance. set in the city. Made on a budget of just about Rs. Pratidwandi. ―uncompromisingly realistic (condemned as ―documentary‖)‖. Indian music as the background (which was not considered suitable in those days due to the lack of ‗body). Ray‘s first film was indeed revolutionary. Author Suranjan Ganguly in an interview focuses attention on this point by talking about Ray‘s film. minimal make-up. What it shares is a . The trilogy told a tale that was grimmer. With non-professional actors.000 which was a low amount even in that day and age. mark the genesis of neorealistic aesthetics in Indian cinema. The neorealist impression on Ray‘s cinema did not however. more contemporary. It was shot mostly on actual locations.2. ―Pratidwandi. in the words of Chidanand Dasgupta. has nothing remotely in common with neorealist aesthetics.

there is no attempt at defining a specific ideological position. Even here. in essence are not overtly political. Italian Neorealist films.106 concern for the underdog--in this case an unemployed man. the India of an emancipating modernity. when asked to talk about Ray‘s political stand and his belief in the Nehruvian ‗modern India‘. in terms of human experience. The later films--especially those made in the 70s--are often seen as more "political" because Ray focuses on problems within post-Independence society such as corruption. His films show an enlightened liberal's view of India and Indian history. Ray never subscribed to any particular political ideology.‖ He further adds that neorealist elements are there for us to see in Ray‘s later works as well. However. unemployment. This is part of the Nehruvian legacy. although one could argue his sympathies are more Leftleaning in nature. i. however. ―As I've written in my book. secular India--in short. the crisis in values. which is also true for Ray‘s cinema. it must be with regard to his humanism and his concern for the political in the larger sense of the term. This is always present in his work--even in the most cynical of his films. Author Suranjan Ganguly.. If one must talk about a "political stance" in his early work.‖ .e. says. aesthetically. Critics have often found a clear political slant missing in his films. the emphasis is not merely on social observation. Ray belongs to the postIndependence generation of artists who were initially enamoured by the Nehruvian vision of a progressive. they don‘t stand out as much as they did in the Apu Trilogy. The psychology or inner life of the protagonist is of profound importance.

. so to say. make him the pioneer of the ‗Indian Neorealist Movement‘. which was further followed up by his contemporaries and gave Indian cinema a much needed break from the stereotypical and melodramatic overtones. The movement. therefore.107 All these parameters and observations of Ray‘s cinematic style.

com Documentary:Link:http://www.satyajitray.edu.com http://wwwmcc.org ejumpcut. Suranjan Ganguly 3. Our films.org www.youtube. Their films: Satyajit Ray 4.net www.upperstall.filmreference.com/watch?v=GQAQSX2aDAI&playnext_from=PL&feature=PlayL ist&p=29E94BE2D2636AD2&playnext=1&index=20 Title:.wikipedia.108 BIBLIOGRAPHY Books:1.murdoch. Satyajit Ray: In Search of the Modern.com www. The Cinema of Satyajit Ray: Chidanand Dasgupta 2.Satyajit Ray on Cinema .au www.greatbong. Cinema Studies: Susan Hayward Internet:www.

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