it’s a very common trend nowadays to shoot film and songs in abroad. Directors and producers are very much passionate and driven towards locations like Switzerland, USA, London, Che-republic and Germany. However, you’ll surely be surprised that 62 years ago, a person who created one film at a very remote village of Bengal which was acclaimed by all the foreign nations with standing ovations. Yes, the film is “Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)” and the director was Mr.Satyajit Ray. He started this film in 1953 and it was accomplished by 1955. It almost took 2 years due to several obstacles like cast &, crew problems, budget issue, weather, location and transportation. However, Mr Ray refused to give up.
While making the illustration of an abridged version of Pather Panchali, a novel by famous Bengali novelist Bibhuti Bhusan Banerjee, the idea of creating a film based on the great novel took firm root in his mind. With a very small budget, he started shooting in 1953 with a cast and crew who were mostly like himself, had no experience of making or acting in films. It got stuck halfway through for lack of funds and could be completed two years later with additional budgets provided by Govt. of West Bengal.
Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921, in a family which for two generations have been crowded with super talent. His Grandfather Upendra Kishore Ray and his father Sukumar Ray spanned between them the greater part of a period of efflorescence and creativity in Bengal in the field of art, science, photography, education and social reforms.
Pather Panchali was first screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York by invitation from its director, Monroe Wheeler. It was warmly received there, however, few heard about it in India till it was released. After releasing here, surprisingly it was a box office hit. The surprise was because it was different in every respect from Bengali films made till then and to which the viewing public could be assuming to have become conditioned. Praise and appreciations from film viewers of nearly all newspapers and journals as well as from academics and intellectuals were almost tumultuous. As one foreign journalist puts it.
“Pather Panchali has become the talk of the town”
It became much famous after receiving the award from Cannes Film Festival in 1956. It was India’s 3rd National Film Awards in 1955, it was named Best Feature Film. More awards from film festivals across the world followed: the Vatican Award (Rome), the Golden Carbao (Manila),and the Diploma of Merit (Edinburgh) in 1956; the Selznick Golden Laurel for Best Film (Berlin), the Golden Gate for Best Director and Best Picture (San Francisco) in 1957; Best Film (Vancouver), and the Critics’ Award for Best Film (Stratford) in 1958. It also won several awards for the best foreign-language film at the National Board of Review Awards 1958; at the Afro-Arts Theater, New York, 1959; the Kinema Jumpo Award in Japan, 1966; and the Bodil Award in Denmark, 1969. In 1958, it was nominated for Best Film at the 11th British Academy Film Awards.
It wasn’t only a film, it exhibited the talent of India throughout the universe. It explored our dignity, our culture and it depicted that we didn’t lose our root even after 200 years of colonial possessions.
Despite several challenges, Ray never gave up and he was so confident that one day his film would inspire every human being in this world. That’s how his journey of films started and he earned fame in the history of World Cinema. But the flavour “Pather Panchali” was definitely unique and different.
Life is not easy, even if you have talent you have to show your dedication towards your job.
Take inspiration from this story, be a DOER!!