ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rays of Hope

In the work of Satyajit Ray can be found a tinge of fatalism, a sense of detachment and an ethos that finds joy in birth and life, even as it accepts death with an amazing grace.

Satyajit Ray, who made 36 films straddling the genres of documentaries, features and shorts, was a multifaceted personality—writer, music composer, graphic designer and calligrapher, among other manifestations—and was among a select group of 16 global icons who were recognised recently by the United Nations (UN) for their contribution to the common good of mankind and their support for the most vulnerable and marginalised. The exhibition at the UN honouring them features artists from around the world who stood up for the downtrodden. It reminds us that the transformative power of art is both a challenge and a miracle of human creativity which can be translated into a common language of artistic inspiration.

In his films Ray chose to focus on social issues, especially on “have-nots.” His seminal work, Pather Panchali, stands out for its universality, lyricism and truthfulness. Based on the stark poverty of village life, Pather Panchali focuses on the individual human being, his agony and his ecstasy as he struggles for survival. It is the human face of rural poverty that we see in Apu, Durga, Harihar and Sarbajaya. We recognise Harihar as an intellectual, Sarbajaya as a woman of calm strength and dignity, Apu as a boy of fine sensitivity and Durga as a beautiful, innocent child of nature. They blend and become a part of us.

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