Director: Satyajit Ray
In this adaptation of Ibsen’s well-known play, a hard-working and principled doctor, Ashoke Kumar Gupta, discovers that the holy water in his town’s temple is dangerously contaminated by the poor quality of the sewer pipes. However, the community’s dependence on the economic benefit of tourism means that his warnings and advice not to go to the temple until the problem is fixed are completely ignored, even leading to a large public outcry in which Dr. Gupta discovers that he has been branded an enemy of the people.
Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta in 1921. Son of Sukumar Ray, one of the leading figures of the Bengali literary scene, in 1940 he graduated in economics from the University of Calcutta and went to work as an illustrator at Tagore University in Viswa-Bharati. He made his directorial debut in 1955 with the eponymous adaptation of the 1928 novel Pather Panchali (“Song of the Road”), which began his trilogy on the life of the young Apu, followed by Aparajito (“The Invincible”, 1956) and Apur Sansar (“Apu’s World”, 1959). This was the basis for the rise of his reputation as one of the country’s best filmmakers. In addition to being a director, he was a screenwriter, composer of the soundtrack, editor and designer of the credits and publicity material for his films. Throughout his extensive film career, Ray received as many as 36 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, two Silver Bears, as well as the Bharat Ratna, India’s most prestigious civilian award. Almost a month before his death, he became the first Indian to receive an Honorary Oscar in 1992.