64 years of Pather Panchali: What made the Ray classic ahead of its time

Pather Panchali is not only a film. It’s a direct peek into the Bengali Society of the early twentieth century. With its universal humanitarian approach, Pather Panchali paints strong emotional strokes into the hearts of its viewers. 

If anyone asks what this film is to me, I’ll reply in one line. This film makes me grieve for a sister that I never had in real life. 

It’s one of the few evergreen films out there. Even after its 64th anniversary, people watch and empathize with this masterpiece.

It’s surprising when you realize that this was the debut film of Satyajit Ray. 

Stories inside and outside

Let’s talk about the film. We all know that the whole Apu trilogy is marvellous. There are very few people who haven’t come across the Train-Running scene from this film. I haven’t come to analyze this masterpiece. Rather I am here to discuss stories. Stories from both inside and outside the film. 

And in between the stories, we will explore some reasons why one should watch it even after 64 years of its release. 

Stellar acting

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

The acting performance of Chunibala Devi (Indir Thakrun) has surpassed the level of comparison. She showed us how even a simple activity like eating can give emotional blows to the viewers. Unlike Chunibala Devi, Karuna Banerjee was completely new to cinema acting. But still, you’ll see flawless acting from her in the movie. 

In real life, Karuna Banerjee was an extremely soft person. Her daughter Runki Banerjee told in an interview that for this role Karuna became the complete opposite. She became the harsh, strong mother who quarrels. 

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

Kanu Banerjee, Subir Banerjee, and Uma Dasgupta created an acting level of their own in this film. But it was Satyajit Ray who brought them together and composed this art piece.  

Brilliant Cinematography

Subrata Mitra was the cinematographer of Pather Panchali. This was also his first-ever film making. Subrata had never operated a film camera before and before Pather Panchali, he was a photographer. Before the shooting of Pather Panchali, Subrata and Satyajit went to the scene with a borrowed up 60mm camera to learn everything. 

But on the first watch, you will see an amazing cinematographic performance. It’s so amazing that you can pull out a photography exhibition from this film. 

A storyboard

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time
A storyboard page from Pather Panchali drawn by Ray

Thank heavens that Satyajit Ray adapted Pather Panchali into a film. It’s hard to tell if anyone else could do it. We all know that a film cannot completely follow a book. Just because of that Satyajit Ray also brought minor changes to the original contents. 

Satyajit Ray literally painted the storyboard of Pather Panchali. His watercolour paintings cleared out everything from the expression of characters to lighting.  

Back then there was a stigma in filmmaking. It was believed that films should have happy endings. Satyajit Ray broke this stigma and brought in a realistic approach. 

Timeless music

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

Music can convey emotions that words cannot describe. Pather Panchali was outstanding even in this way too. Ravishankar did the music for this film. 

With the use of Bengali classical instruments, Ravishankar put the perfect music piece in the perfect position. There are scenes where talking or screaming becomes abundant. In those places, music became the messenger. 

Ray’s direction

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

Satyajit Ray was a powerful director. He portrayed his beliefs and point of view through the cast members. Although many of the cast members were completely new to acting, Ray’s direction covered every bit of inexperience. 

Runki Banerjee was just a small girl when she played Durga. Ray brought his direction to the simplest form to capture the perfect pose. In fact, Ray did this with every cast member. 

However, Ray faced difficulties in direction too. He had to adapt a lot while shooting. For example, the Kans Grass field where they wanted to shoot the train scene was supposed to be the first shot scene of the film. But on the day of the shooting, they found the place completely empty. It happened to be that cattle ate all the Kans Grass. Later they returned to that place after around 2 years. 

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

Other than the improvising, the implementation of film-philosophy is also admirable.

Satyajit Ray took the Italian Neo-realism approach while making this film.

His showcasing of poverty, desperation, etc. in everyday life bolsters this claim. 

We can also see the influence of Rasa theory in this film. This concept relies heavily on the emotional side. It centres on two aspects. The first one is the feelings experienced by the characters. And the second one is conveying those feelings to the audience in an artistic way. 

Satyajit Ray gathered up the perfect team for that.  With the story of Bibhutibhushan, with the acting of the cast members, with the cinematography of Subrata Mitra and with the music of Ravishankar he conveyed every bit of emotion to us. 

A legacy that lives on

64 years of Pather Panchali: What made it ahead of its time

Satyajit Ray had to stop shooting this film in midway due to fund shortage. He went to the government officials for the funding, but they didn’t like his realistic approach. 

Because he didn’t give up, we are still talking about his first film after 64 years of its release. Here’s an interesting fact – the Apu Trilogy created an ineradicable impact on teenage Martin Scorsese. 

If you haven’t watched this masterpiece already then go and watch it. It’s been 64 years and you are missing out on a gem of Bengali classic. Happy watching!

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. We want to hear from you. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestion. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is starting in a week. And “Made in Bangladesh”, a film by Bangladeshi filmmaker Rubaiyat Hossain, is going to be premiered at the TIFF 2019, under the Contemporary World Cinema category.

What is TIFF

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

Founded in 1976, Toronto International Film Festival has now become one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world. TIFF is providing the platform for aspiring filmmakers to kick start their careers and the opportunity to showcase their new works.

There are about 12 types of programmes and categories in TIFF. Films of narrative style which are usually made by young established directors fall under TIFF’s category: “Contemporary World Cinema”.

This year marks the 44th edition of TIFF.  It’s a 10-day festival, from 5 September 2019 to 15 September 2019.

About “Made in Bangladesh”

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

“Made in Bangladesh” is Rubaiyat Hossain’s third feature-length film.

The protagonist of the film is a worker of the ready-made garment (RMG) sector named Shimu. The character is based on a real-life person who acted as a consultant throughout the making of the film.

“Made in Bangladesh” is the story of Bangladesh’s RMG sector. How this sector empowers women, how it makes them financially independent and provides them socio-economic independence. On-screen, the film laments the obstacles female workers face and also celebrates their success.

Read more: French movie “Fahim” to portray the story of Bangladeshi chess prodigy

All about women empowerment

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

The film talks about women empowerment in every way possible. The director herself is a woman. So is the production designer, sound editor, cinematographer and art director.

“One of the things I’m proud of about the film is that all the major departments were headed by women”

Said Rubaiyat Hossain.

Production Information

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

The film, which began its production phase on 17th April 2019, chose different locations of Dhaka and Gazipur of Bangladesh as shooting spots and continued for around 36 days.

The film is co-produced by Bangladesh, France, Denmark, and Portugal. It was also financed by France’s CNC fund, Norway’s Sørfond plus, the EU’s Eurimages fund and Denmark’s Danish Film Institute fund. Pyramid International is the French distributor and international sales agent for the film.

A big step for Bangladeshi films

Not saying there are no good films being made in our country. Of course, a handful of really good films have been made in the last century. Watching them, people in Bangladesh have been growing a better taste in the moving pictures. And “Made in Bangladesh” helps this process to gain momentum.

TIFF 2019 premiering “Made in Bangladesh’ is indeed a huge move forward for Bangladeshi films.

It is promising and hopeful for the young aspiring filmmakers. Especially, the story on screen and behind the camera is motivating for all women.

Bangladesh premier

Rubaiyat Hossain has expressed her anticipations that “Made in Bangladesh’ will be soon premiered at the Dhaka Internation Film Festival. She also expects for a local distributor to make her film commercially available to Bangladeshi audience through cinema halls. 

We cannot wait to watch it!

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. We want to hear from you. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestion. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!

Dare to Surf: The first ever Bangladeshi movie on surfing

Surfing is not as prominent in Bangladesh as it is in other countries. But there are a good number of surfers that hit the high waves of Cox’s Bazar every now and then. Even amid societal pressure and conservative religious mindset, surfing in Bangladesh is carving its way forward. And this intriguing story of surfing’s rise in a conservative society is about to be captured in celluloid for the first time ever.

Surfing in Bangladesh

In 1995, Jafar Alam started surfing culture in Bangladesh after buying a surfboard from an Australian and spending years teaching himself to surf.

After Surfing the Nations founder Tom Bauer decided to set up a surf club in Bangladesh, even women started to get involved in surfing.

Jafar Alam in his surfing club

Soon, Nasima Akhter, a young girl from Cox’s Bazar, left behind her home and family to join the surfing community. She would forever be known as the first ever Bangladeshi woman to become a world-class competitive surfer.

This year, the film industry of Bangladesh decided to make a movie based on the life of female surfers and the constraints they have to face in every step of their surfing journey. Named Dare to Surf in English, this movie portrays the story of a local Bangladeshi girl from Cox’s Bazar and her passion for surfing.

Model Sunerah Binte Kamal is going to play the character of Ayesha, a girl from Cox’s Bazar who challenges society’s prohibitions and joins the surfing community.

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

Intriguing plot based on a true story

Ayesha (Sunerah) and Sohel (Shariful Raaz) both are passionate surfers and friends who, along with other youngsters, are trained by self-taught surfer Amir(Sayed Babu). This enthusiasm for surfing from a small town in Bangladesh starts to get international attention from several organizations.

But as funds and money are generated from this newly received attention, so is the hunger for fame, power and a heavy bank account.

While this gives Sohel the chance to get stardom and live a posh life in the city, it brings upon Ayesha a forced marriage and prohibitions in her love for surfing.

Inspired from the life story of the first female surfer Nasima Akhter, this movie not only shows how much a girl has to struggle to challenge cultural boundaries but also depicts the horrible consequences of being in the limelight.

Read more: Chris Hemsworth wraps up filming “DHAKA”, the film not filmed in Dhaka

Excitement and hope

Directed by Tanim Rahman Angshu, Dare to Surf was made to advocate female empowerment and the right to live as they want. A released poster of the movie shows a young girl in a bridal saree walking on a sandy shore of Cox’s Bazar with a surfboard in her hand and a fierce look in her eyes. Although this was made as a festival poster to showcase in film festivals all around the world, it definitely conveys the stance this movie is taking. With famous screenwriter from Kolkata, Shyamal Sengupta and some amazing actors on board, movie enthusiasts have already started to provide positive feedback on this movie.

Previously, a documentary called The Most Fearless was made by Californian documentary filmmaker Heather Kissinger to portray the life of a female surfer from a conservative Muslim country. However, this is the first time the Bangladeshi film industry has attempted to make a movie that focuses on the surfing journey of a Bangladeshi woman.