Satyajit Ray

Charulata, 1964

Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), or “Charu” as she is affectionately called, lives the privileged life of the Bengali upper class in the late nineteenth century. She is highly intelligent and creative, but her social status limits her opportunities for personal growth, and she is left with empty diversions that provide little challenge: embroidering handkerchiefs, managing the… read more »

Mahanagar, 1963

A young girl named Bani (Jaya Bhaduri) diligently studies for her exams. Her father, Subrata (Anil Chatterjee) asks, “Is it worth it? You’ll end up in the kitchen, like your mother.” The words are intended to be a playful tease, but they speak volumes about the role of women in society. It is the early… read more »

Teen Kanya, 1961

Composed of three stories based on Rabindranath Tagore’s short fiction that span a range of ages, each shot in a different narrative genre – a social realist drama, a ghost story, and a romantic comedy – Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) is a lucid panorama on the lives of society’s referential daughters and their… read more »

Devi, 1960

Devi opens with a static shot of an undecorated alabaster statue in the image of Kali, the goddess of creation and destruction, as the Hindu deity is excessively ornamented for a religious festival. On the eve of the festival, Umaprasad (“Uma”) (Soumitra Chatterjee) brings his shy and beautiful wife, Doyamoyee (“Doya”) (Sharmila Tagore) and nephew,… read more »

Apur Sansar, 1959

Times are hard in the city of Calcutta. Apu’s (Soumitra Chatterjee) college funds have run dry, and he is forced to suspend his university education. After receiving a letter of introduction from a supportive professor, Apu exits the faculty office only to walk into the chaos of a student protest. It is a harbinger of… read more »

Jalsaghar, 1958

Jalsaghar opens to the shot of a large, ornate, candlelit chandelier, precariously swaying from the momentum of its cumbersome weight. It is a vestige of the fading grandeur of Huzur Biswambhar Roy’s (Chhabi Biswas) cherished jalsaghar – the elegant entertainment room where guests listen to the performance of traditional musicians amid eroded columns and peeling… read more »

Aparajito, 1956

The people make their daily pilgrimage to the Ganges River: bathing in its holy waters, filling their ceremonial vessels, attending a reading of the scriptures by the entrance steps. The Ray family has left their ancestral home (in Pather Panchali) and has settled into a ground floor apartment in the city of Banaras. Hari (Kanu… read more »

Pather Panchali, 1955

A young girl named Durga (Runki Banerjee) ventures into the neighbor’s orchard that was once owned by her family, and picks some guavas for her great aunt, Indir (Chunibala Devi). The neighbors detect the incident, and complain loudly of Durga’s undisciplined behavior for her mother, Sarbajaya (Karuna Banerjee) to overhear. Sarbajaya, in turn, scolds Indir… read more »