There was no money, no experienced artist, yet Satyajit Ray made India’s best film ‘Pather Panchali’

New Delhi: The film ‘Pather Panchali’, which proved to be a milestone in the journey of Indian cinema, is once again in the headlines. ‘Pather Panchali’ is the only Hindi film to find a place in the latest list of 100 best films released by the British magazine Sight and Sound. Satyajit Ray had laid down his life in making this film which was released on 26 August 1955. When the film was made, there was neither facility like today nor did the filmmaker have money. Despite this, even today the Hindi film industry has not found a single film that can compete with ‘Pather Panchali’.

to Satyajit Ray It took about 3 years to make ‘Pather Panchali’. The film had mostly new actors and inexperienced crew members. The soundtrack of the film was composed by famous sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. The film premiered on 3 May 1955 during an exhibition in New York. Satyajit Ray’s first film had made him famous at the international level even then, even today. It was not easy for him to make this film.

Story of ‘Pather Panchali’ making
Satyajit Ray initially worked as a junior visualizer in a British advertising agency. During this time, got a chance to paint Vibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay’s novel ‘Pather Panchali’. Till that time Satyajit Ray had not read much of Bengali literature. This novel had left a deep impression in his heart. During this, Satyajit Ray decided to make a film. Gradually, Satyajit Ray started writing in newspapers and magazines in both English and Bengali, and also started writing scripts. In 1949, when French film director Jean Renier came for the location recce of his film ‘The River’, Satyajit reached the hotel to meet him. Met and then went with him in search of the location of the film. Seeing Satyajit Ray’s knowledge and enthusiasm about cinema, Jean asked if he wanted to become a filmmaker, then Satyajit Ray was surprised and told his heart about Pather Panchali.

Trend actors and makers were also not
Jean Renoir started shooting his film in Kolkata and surrounding areas and included many of Satyajit’s friends as crew members. Satyajit regretted not being able to be a part of the film, as his firm sent him to London as an art director. During the 16-day sea voyage, Satyajit Ray prepared a plan to make the film ‘Pather Panchali’. Saw many foreign films in London and when he returned to India in 1950, the blueprint of ‘Pather Panchali’ was ready. Gathered his friends, made Subrata Mitra the cinematographer, Anil Chowdhary the production controller and Bansi Chandragupta the art director. Now money was needed, no one was ready to invest money in the film.

Wife’s jewelry mortgaged for ‘Pather Panchali’
Nearly 2 years passed in searching for the manufacturer. Defeated, decided to shoot a small chunk. Borrowed money from his insurance policy and friends-relatives. Used to shoot on Sundays as he was still working in an advertising agency. Finally, in the year 1953, producer Rana Dutta met, who helped a little. Without salary, Satyajit Ray took a month’s leave and started shooting for the film. When the shortage of money came in between, he mortgaged his wife’s jewelry and it worked for a few days. Satyajit showed the film made about 4000 feet to all the producers, all of them rejected it. At last, with someone’s advice, contacted the West Bengal government and the money was arranged.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was also fascinated
When ‘Pather Panchali’ was released in Kolkata on August 26, 1955, it performed moderately for two weeks but by the third week the theater was packed with audience. The film achieved immense success. When Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru saw the film, he was so impressed that he arranged for the film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival as an official entry. The film won the special award for Best Human Document at the festival. After this the film got many awards in the country and abroad.

Story of the movie ‘Pather Panchali’
The story of ‘Pather Panchali’ is about the village of Nishchindipur in Bengal and the family of Harihar Rai, a modest householder there. He works as a priest but sees himself as a poet and playwright. Harihar’s cousin widow Indira also lives there. Apart from this, there are wife Sarbjaya, daughter Durga and Apu. Due to less earning, the wife does not want Indira to stay at home. Apu and Durga were living a happy life in the miseries of their childhood, unaware of poverty. It was also expected that life would come back on track if there was some more income. The circumstances become such that Apu has to bear the responsibility of his family. From childhood to youth, the art and destiny of living in the world, migration of social values, such a story was created on the screen, which is still playing abroad.

Tags: Entertainment Special, Satyajit Ray

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