Family, Birth and Schooling A 6’-4” tall and much much taller personality, so tall that it covered the whole world with its talent, in the world of Cinema. Satyajit was born on 2nd May, 1921 in Calcutta. He belonged to a rich, intellectual and well known family devoted to literature, art, music, printing technology.
His grandfather, Upendra Kishore Ray (popular as Upendra Roychowdhury) died around 5 years before his birth but was famous for publishing and printing of a children’s magazine “Sandesh” which his father was taking care of. His father too died 2 years after his birth. When he was just five, he had to leave their huge house with his mother, because of the shifting of business to somebody else in the family.
This drastically effected their financial situation, and his mother had to live in her brother’s house. His mother had to start teaching to fight against this poor situation. At this time he first met his cousin Bijoya whom he later married. Till the age of 8, his mother used to teach her at home because of this money crisis. Then he was admitted to a local Government School to get some formal education.
He was just an average student in the school. His inclination was more towards Hollywood films and western classical music.
At 15, he completed his matriculation. Persuaded by his mother, he joined Calcutta Presidency College, in science stream. After 2 years, and performing not too well in science, he switched over to Arts. During college days his only two interests were movies and music. This was the time when he got curious about directing films. At 18, he finished his graduation and decided to bid farewell to further studies. By this time, he had become a very good artist, by making good drawings.
His mother, seeing his interest in drawing pushed him to join Shantiniketan to get formal education in “Painting and Drawing”. In 1940, Satyajit joined Vishva Bharti University at Shantiniketan not too happily. His mother wanted him to join there for two reasons – 1. his urge for learning Arts to become a Commercial Artist, and 2. Rabindranath Tagore used to be a very close friend of his grandfather and father. Before joining this university he was greatly influenced by western work only, but here he got acquainted with other countries Art.
And here only he started admiring Indian Art. Ray was so much influenced by his art teacher here, Binode Behari Mukherji, that after 30 years, in 1972, he made a documentary film on him titled as – The Inner Eye. In 1947, he formed the first film society of Calcutta. During this period, he started writing cinema and films in leading newspapers and magazines. All such writings till 1971, were compiled and published in his book – “Our Films, Their Films” which got acclaims world over. This was the time when he grew interest in writing screenplays for films. A very interesting epitome regarding Tagore’s famous novel “Ghare Baire”.
Ray was hired to write screenplay for the movie being made based on this novel. But it could not be made because producer of the film wanted some changes in the script written by Ray and he refused to entertain those changes. Because of this the film could not be made. Ray’s liking for this story and his script forced him to make a film thirty five years later based on the same novel and his script. Ray got married to Bijoya, his cousin and childhood friend in 1949 in a very simple ceremony.
Ray was highly impressed with Bimal Roy’s “Do Bigha Zameen” (1952) which further increased his faith in real life cinema. This movie bagged prize in the Cannes Festival, 1954. Pather Panchali was released in 1955 and became as huge success all over. The music was composed by great Pt. Ravi Shankar and directed by Ray. The success of this movie established Ray as a world class director. From this period till 1981 Ray got established as a writer, director and composer. His movies won a number of awards world over. He had a special attention towards children. Thus he revived “Sandesh” the children magazine that his grand father had started but which stopped after his father’s death. He also became a successful writer and wrote many books for children. He wrote short stories, fiction, novels and autobiography.
In 1992, He received Lifetime Achievement Oscar In the same year he also received Bharat Ratna from Indian Government Satyajit Ray died on April 23, 1992.