Director: Satyajit Ray
At the beginning of the film, a woman recalls the events that shaped her perspective of the world. Years earlier, her husband, a wealthy, Western-educated landowner, defied tradition by giving her an education and helping her break out of the seclusion in which many married women were kept, against the wishes of her more conservative relatives. She takes up his political cause with a visit from a college friend of her husband’s, and as the story progresses, their relationship becomes less platonic, and the political struggles, pitting rich and poor and Hindu and Muslim, turn out to be more complex than she thought.
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.