Satyajit ray’s debut film “Pather Panchali” (1955), which changed the perception of Bengali films in the international arena, completed 66 years on 26 Aug 2021.
Pather Panchali saw the light when the Indian Cinema Industry followed up the Hollywood approach in making films.
The era of the 50s was way different from the one we see today. Shooting an entire full-length movie outdoor with the pieces of equipment available was something out of the box.
Yet Ray dared to shoot his first film out in rural Bengal, which turned out to be something that the industry never saw before.
About The Movie
Pather Panchali (Song of the minor road in Bengali) is an Indian Bengali epic drama film written and directed by Satyajit Ray and produced by the Government of West Bengal.
Based on a Bengali novel written by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Appu’s childhood (Subir Banarjee), his elder sister Durga, and the harsh village life low-income family.
It begins when an impoverished priest Harihar Ray leaves his rural Bengal village searching for work, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family. Behind him, his wife looks after their rebellious daughter Durga and her younger son Apu, as well as Harihar’s elderly aunt.
The film is a true example of presenting humanity. Ray has tried portraying the rural life, perils, and poverty pitfalls through Apu’s innocent eyes.
The family edges closer to financial ruin, but Apu’s eyes are full of dreams. The whole family appreciates life in every way possible and tries to enjoy and find happiness in the little things, which is the most important lesson of this film.
Full of challenges
They’re a great saying, “you will face a lot of failures on the road of success”, and this alone summarises the journey of Pather Panchali.
After amazing the world with his cinematics, Satyajit Ray wrote a book called “my years with Apu”, accounting for all those challenges and exciting incidents during the shoot of pather Panchali.
Pather Panchali had no stars, no romance, no songs or dances, not even a story or drama in the conventional sense. The shooting took over more than two years to complete due to a lack of proper funding.
Initially, producers turned down the film, terming it as commercially nonviable. It was challenging during those times to shoot low budget movies as the camera and film stock were highly expensive.
Ray even had to see his wife’s jewellery, but his dedication made everything possible.Shooting outdoor in real locations was one of the biggest challenges for ray.
In one of the interviews, he said that it was complicated to transport such heavy, cumbersome types of equipment to locations, and there was no proper lighting. But everything turned possible with the cooperation of the villagers.
Ray and many others in the crew were working for the first time in a film. But the film looks flawless and not an amateur. It gives out an important message that “talent doesn’t need experience; vision and confidence are enough to guide your way.
And with this message, Ray gave India one of its renowned masterpieces, which will always stand fresh in memory.