Two: A Film Fable is a 1964 black-and-white short film directed by the Indian director Satyajit Ray. The film was made under the banner of Esso World Theater at the request of a non-profit American public broadcasting television, PBS.
It was made as part of a trilogy of short films from India. The other two films in the trilogy featured Indian Sitar player, Pandit Ravi Shankar and a Ballet troupe from Mumbai, then known as “Bombay”. Ray, who worked prominently for Bengali cinema, was requested to make a film in English language with a Bengali setting, however Ray being an admirer of silent film decided to make a film without any dialogue as a tribute to the genre.
The short film shows an encounter between a child of a rich family and a street child, through the rich kid’s window. The film is made without any dialogue and displays attempts of One-upmanship between kids in their successive display of their toys. The film portrays the child-rivalry with the help of world of noise and that of music. The film is among less known films of Ray but experts rated the film as one of Ray’s best. It is often regarded as a prelude to another Ray film,
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969). Made during the Vietnam War, experts believe that the film makes “a strong anti-war statement” as it ends with street kid’s flute sound overpowering sound of expensive toys.
Sikkim is a 1971 Indian documentary about the nation of Sikkim, directed by Satyajit Ray. The documentary was commissioned by the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim at a time when he felt the sovereignty of Sikkim was under threat from both China and India. Ray’s documentary is about the sovereignty of Sikkim. The film was banned by the government of India, when Sikkim merged with India in 1975. In 2000, the copyright of the film was transferred to the Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim. The ban was finally lifted by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in September 2010. In November 2010 the director of the Kolkata film festival stated that upon screening the documentary for the first time, he received an injunction from the court of Sikkim again banning the film.
THE INNER EYE (1972)
The Inner Eye is a 1972 short documentary film made by Satyajit Ray on Benode Behari Mukherjee, a blind artist and a teacher from Visva-Bharati University, a university founded by Rabindranath Tagore at Santiniketan. The twenty minutes documentary features the life and works of Mukherjee in the form of paintings and photographs, starring himself. The documentary covers his journey from childhood till his blindness along with much of his works and features his words, “Blindness is a new feeling, a new experience, a new state of being”. The documentary was awarded as Best Information Film (Documentary) at 20th National Film Awards in 1972.
Mukherjee is known as the most informed Indian artist of his generation and a legend of modern Asian Art. Born with severe eye problem, being myopic on one eye and blind in the other, Mukherjee lost his sight completely after an unsuccessful cataract operation. However, he continued his work as an artist.
SUKUMAR RAY (1987)
Sukumar Ray is a 1987 Bengali short documentary film made by Satyajit Ray on his father, Sukumar Ray. It was released during the birth centenary year of Sukumar Ray, who was born on 30 October 1887. The thirty minutes documentary features the life and some of the works by Sukumar Ray in the form of paintings, photographs and readings. This is the last documentary made by Satyajit Ray as a tribute to his father, before he died in 1992. The documentary used Sukumar Ray’s photographs and paintings than video recording as the film was considerably a new medium
in India when Sukumar Ray died in 1923.
Sukumar Ray was a Bengali humorous poet, story writer and playwright who mainly wrote for children. Born in Bengali family on 30 October 1887 to Bidhumukhi and Upendrakishore Ray, Ray is a second children of six and illustrator of literary nonsense and nonsense rhyme in Bengali literature. Graduated with Honours degree in Physics and Chemistry from the Presidency College, Kolkata, Ray got training in photography and printing technology in England at the School of Photo-Engraving and Lithography, London. He formed the “Nonsense Club” and the “Monday Club”, the members of which included some of the young artists, writers, scholars and critics of that time. Ray was also associated with Brahmo Samaj and wrote a poem called “Atiter Katha” for young readers. His works such as the collection of poems Abol Tabol (Gibberish), novella HaJaBaRaLa (The Absurdity), short story collection Pagla Dashu (Crazy Dashu) and play Chalachitta Chanchari are considered nonsense masterpieces. Father of film-maker Satyajit Ray, Sukumar Ray died of severe infectious fever, Leishmaniasis on 10 September 1923.
ARANYER DIN RATRI (1970)
Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) is an Indian Bengali adventure drama film released in 1970 and directed by Satyajit Ray. It is based upon the Bengali novel of the same name by Sunil Gangopadhyay. It was one of the earliest films to employ the literary technique of the carnivalesque. The film was nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 20th Berlin International Film Festival.
The plot of the movie goes back to a similar outing the writer Sunil Gangopadhyay took in the early days of his poetic career. The story unfolds around a group of four friends, quite unlike each other and yet bonded together deeply. The four friends are all educated and come from different layers of society, but the urge to escape from the daily grinding of city forces them to go out into the land of tribes.
APUR SANSAR (1959)
Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) is a Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is the third part of The Apu Trilogy, about the childhood and early adulthood of a young Bengali named Apu in the early twentieth century Indian subcontinent. The film is based on the last two-thirds of the 1932 Bengali novel, Aparajito, by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay.Released in 1959, The World of Apu focuses on Apu’s adult life, and also introduces the actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore, who would go on to appear in many subsequent Ray films. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and several international awards, including the Sutherland Award for Best Original And Imaginative Film and National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The World of Apu has been influential across the world and is frequently listed among the greatest films of all time.
Devi (The Goddess) is a 1960 Bengali drama film by director Satyajit Ray, starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore. It is based on a short story by Provatkumar Mukhopadhyay. The title means “Goddess”
In 19th century rural Bengal, Dayamoyee (Sharmila Tagore) and her husband Umaprasad (Soumitra Chatterjee) live with Umaprasad’s family. His father, Kalikinkar Choudhuri, is a devoted follower of the goddess Kali. Since Umaprasad is away at school, Dayamoyee takes care of her father-in-law.
One evening, Kalikinkar has a dream that Dayamoyee is an avatar of Kali and must be worshipped as such. Soon other people also come to believe that she is an incarnation of the goddess. After hearing the news, Umaprasad returns home but is unable to remedy the situation as Dayamoyee herself begins to believe that she is an avatar,
a belief which soon turns to tragedy.
Sadgati (The Deliverance) is a 1981 Hindi film, primarily made for TV, by Satyajit Ray, based on a short story of same name by Munshi Premchand.
The film is a vicious indictment of the Indian caste system; when a poor and out-caste, village shoemaker, Dukhi (Om Puri), goes to village Brahmin (Hindu priest) (Mohan Agashe) to get the date of his daughter’s marriage fixed, the Brahmin in turn asks for labour without pay in exchange, the ensuing events however turn the table against the priest, who in the end has to fore-go all the lofty tradition, including that of untouchability, he held so dearly, all this life, in his life as village priest.
Agantuk ( The Stranger ) is a 1991 Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray. It was Ray’s last film, based on one of his short stories, “Atithi” (“The Guest”). It was a joint Indian-French production with financial backing from companies such as Gérard Depardieu’s DD Productions and Canal+.
Anila Bose (Mamata Shankar) receives a letter from a man, who claims to be her long lost uncle Manomohan Mitra (Utpal Dutt). He is visiting India after 35 years abroad and Anila is his only surviving relative, so he wants to meet her in Calcutta before he sets off again. Anila looks forward to the meeting, but her husband Sudhindra (Deepankar De) is suspicious. The uncle arrives and stays with the family. He says that he is an anthropologist who has traveled all over the world, and he immediately wins the friendship of Anila’s son Satyaki.
Kanchenjungha is a 1962 Indian film directed by Satyajit Ray.The film is about an upper class Bengali family on vacation in Darjeeling, a popular hill station near Kanchenjunga.
Kanchenjungha was Ray’s first original screenplay and for the first time, he was shooting in color. The film shows about 100 minutes (in real time) in the life of a group of rich Bengalis on vacation. Unlike the usual Ray films, it has a fragmented narrative with no central characters, and no straight narrative in the classical sense.
It is a very structured and composed film that uses color and nature to heighten the drama. Ray told his biographer Andrew Robinson: “The idea was to have the film starting with sunlight. Then clouds coming, then mist rising, and then mist disappearing, the cloud disappearing, and then the sun shining on the snow-peaks. There is an independent progression to Nature itself, and the story reflects this.”
As the weather becomes misty – the young daughter and the suitor part at that point, Indranath meets Ashoke, and the elder daughter, Amina and her husband have a bitter moment between them. And then when the sun appears again – Amina’s daughter comes back to her parents and they accept her, the misunderstanding is cleared up, and the younger daughter and Ashoke develop a tentative relationship with a hint of future prospects.