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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali(1955) : A Film By Satyajit Ray.In spite of poverty and death the film leaves one not depressed but moved, filled with the beauty, and subtle glare of life. The film suggests an intimate relationship between loss and growth or destruction and creation. Simply this movie depicts human documentary in the native village of Bengal.

The word Pather literally means "of the path" in Bengali. Panchali refers to a type of narrative folk song. So the name of movie is "Song of the Road". It's based on a novel by a Bengali author named Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Plot of movie is around of time of 1920’s. I have watched this movie recently and feel bit boring but very realistic at era in which it was made. The movie is not melodramatically sad but it is realistically sad. Although Ray did take liberties with the plot, he couldn't change so much so as to remove all the negative aspects from the story altogether. Sorrow and grief are inseparable from the real life. We have few moments of cherish that optimize us in the ages of gloominess. These emotions of happiness & sadness are mutually exclusive to each other. For the cinematic material dictated in the movie, a very slow rhythm determined by nature, the landscape, the country was necessary so that ray can stick to authentic version of novel.

The character of Sarbajaya, Apu and Durga are the three main storytellers through which whole movie was narrated. Ray reveals the love between members of a family in every situation.

The relationship between the brother and sister is so nice to watch. The sequences of Apu and elder sister Durga, exploring their little world and sharing secrets are most remarkable aspect of the film. These include the scenes of - discovery of train by Durga and Apu in field of white Kash flowers and the candy seller sequence.In the inspired 'candy-seller' sequence, as Durga and Apu secretly relish tamarind paste, their mother is complaining about hardships to their father. Durga hears a faint bell. She knows it is the candy-seller. Both go out and look longingly at the the pots with sweets in them. Durga sends Apu to ask for money from their father. Mother intervenes, and Apu returns empty handed. But the site of the pot-bellied candy-seller caring two bobbing pots of sweets is too tempting to resist. Both start following him. A stray dog joins the procession as it is reflected in a shimmering pond. The shadow of them in ponds just fuses the external world of theirs into internal silence inside us. The film develops its characters and the atmosphere slowly and resolutely. The narrative builds up to a powerful climax as we begin to attach to the film.

The ending was quite tragic personally for me. We see speechless Apu, for the first time taking the center stage in the story. Till now the story was seen through the point of view of either Sarbajaya or Durga. It is only in these final moments that we see Apu as an independent individual. Now his father decided to move to Varanasi, a city and leave behind all the past. In last scene the home of ancestor, a civilized place shows to be destroyed in ruins and human life still going despite death, grief and pain. Generally looking at broad prospective look how it shows the migration of people in India from villages to cities due to problem of poverty and other thing faced by them. The villages suffered a lot due to feminine or floods. Today the shift in population from village to cities (local to global) is seen in the back 1955.

What makes cinema different from a book is clearly depicted in this film. It is the way one represents the world. To draw it, color it, giving it a whole form... which can be touched. This movie transferred into huge canvas on which painter, Ray makes a pattern of human nature. I liked the movie because flow of emotions was so strong despite its boredom, affection for it never ends. The best thing of the movie was that Ray could convey the message through the medium and content both. The artistic creation of a characters and the intensity of emotions in cinematic way was touching. It is a living example of chaos of the struggle between internal and external world of human beings. This film brings to us happy moments as well as moments of grief and pain. Indeed, Rare and exquisite is work of Ray.

Ray's comment on this film: "It is true. For one year I was trying to sell the scenario, to peddle it... since nobody would buy it, I decided to start anyway, because we wanted some footage to prove that we were not incapable of making films. So I got some money against my insurance policies. We started shooting, and the fund ran out very soon. Then I sold some art books, some records and some of my wife's jewelry. Little trickles of money came, and part of the salary I was earning as art director. All we had to spend on was raw stock, hire of a camera and our conveniences, transport and so on... I had nothing more to pawn."


President's Gold & Silver Medals, New Delhi, 1955
Best Human Document, Cannes 1956
Diploma Of Merit, Edinbugh, 1956
Vatican Award, Rome, 1956
Golden Carbao, Manila, 1956
Best Film and Direction, San Francisco, 1957
Selznik Golden Laurel, Berlin, 1957
Best Film, Vancouver, 1958
Critics' Award - Best Film, Stratford, (Canada), 1958
Best Foreign Film, New York, 1959
Kinema Jumpo Award: Best Foreign Film, Tokyo 1966
Bodil Award: Best Non-European Film of the Year, Denmark, 1966

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