A writer, filmmaker, calligrapher, graphic designer, and music composer, Satyajit Ray was exceptionally talented and spent his life pursuing various interests.
A jack-of-all-trades and master-of-many, Satyajit Ray is among the best filmmakers to work in the history of Bollywood. The only Indian director to bag the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement, he was also honored with Legion de Honors by the French Government.
Italian Neo-Realism school of filmmaking deeply influenced the director and after 1961, he composed all the songs for his movies.
A name that is often connected to General Knowledge for Gen Z, Satyajit Ray created several films that are too good to be missed.
So, to make you familiar with the work of this genius filmmaker, here are some of the films by Satyajit Ray you should watch to catch the essence of his work-
1. Goopy Bagha Trilogy
A work of Ray’s grandfather Upendrakishore Ray Chaudhary, Goopy, and Bagha was adapted into three films by Satyajit Ray.
The Bengali fantasy adventure was praised for its humor and the way it tried to mingle philosophical questions in it.
The films were Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Hirak Rajar Deshe, and Goopy Bagha Phire Elo, while the former two were directed by Ray, and the last film was directed by his son Sandip Ray.
2. Apu Trilogy
Another trilogy that made its way to be one of the best works of Satyajit Ray, he poured his heart and soul to bring to the screen the stories of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay.
The three films were Pather Panchali, Aporajito, and Apur Sansar. The trilogy is a coming-of-age story focusing on a young boy Apu from Bengal. It won several awards at Venice, Berlin, and Cannes Film Festival.
Bringing Rabindranath Tagore’s story Nastanirh to the screen while naming the title of the protagonist, Charulata carries the power to move hearts through a fictional account.
Known for its remarkable first and final scene, Charulata is an exploration of loneliness and companionship.
The movie ends with the two protagonists standing on thresholds with hands extended but frames frozen. This scene has been acclaimed worldwide for the wonderful use of freeze-frame in the movie.
Through Jalsaghar, Satyajit Ray dives deep into the world of chasing glory and how this perpetual chase is really difficult to neglect.
The movie is further magnified by its spectacular music and dance performances with Ray carrying the power to show moments that may be sidelined in a person’s life but in reality carries a deep impact.
During the period of its making, the movie’s protagonist Uttam Kumar was probably the most famous actor of that time.
Nayak tells the story of a very famous actor and Satyajit Ray chose the best person of that time who could have done justice to the character.
This was the first casting of Kumar in Ray’s film and the result was a thought-provoking story around life, glory, name, and legacy.
Mahanagar is one of the stories tucked in textbooks of students teaching them the bridge between being rational and choosing hope.
Revolving around the life of a middle-class family who hopes to make their lifestyle and living better one day, shows how difficult it is for some to not have more or less, but enough to make the ends meet.
One of the most eye-catching scenes in the film is when an old man starts tearing up from worries while he was inspected by a doctor.
7. Sonar Kella
Detective Feluda is India’s Hercule Poirot created by Satyajit Ray. One of his many adventures was brought to screen by the man behind it in the film Sonar Kella.
Making sure to capture the essence he placed in the book, Ray’s efforts were amplified by Soumitra Chatterjee who played the role of Feluda.
Known for being the last film of the genius mind, Agantuk was based on a short story written by Satyajit Ray. The story follows Anila Bose who received a letter from someone claiming to be her long-lost uncle.
Whether Anila really has a connection with the man or if he is just an imposter may seem like the base of the film, but a closer glimpse at the film will show you its concentration on the philosophies around life.