Satyajit Ray is a world-famous name synonymous with some of the finest cinematic productions. Apart from being one of the finest directors in the world, he performed many other roles of producer, screenwriter, composer, writer and graphic designer with aplomb achieving excellence in almost everything he touched.
The cinematic and creative legacy left behind by Satyajit Ray is not restricted only to this subcontinent but have impacted the international creatives and audiences on the global level. Here are the 10 significant facts about the exclusive director that separates him from the rest in the arena.
1. Graphic Designer Par Excellence
Very few people know that prior to venturing into the film industry, Satyajit Ray worked as a graphic designer. His works such as the book cover for Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru and Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett received appreciation.
Master Of All The Trades
Apart from being an ace filmmaker, Satyajit Ray was also an expert in fiction writing, illustrating, publishing, calligraphy, film critiquing, music composing, and of course graphic designing.
National Awards & Recognition
The films of Satyajit Ray bagged 32 National Awards from the Government of India. Out of these he received six awards for Best Director. The President of France honored him with prestigious Legion of Honour award in 1987. He was honored with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India after his demise in 1992.
Opened Calcutta Film Society
Ray along with other film historians and film laid the foundation for the opening of the Calcutta Film Society in 1947.
Pather Panchali Took 3 Years To Complete
Pather Panchali introduced Ray to the world winning him 11 international awards. However, very few people know that it took Ray three long years to complete the movie that won the inaugural Best Human Document Award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. It was the first international acclaim for Satyajit Ray.
Received Honorary Doctorate From Oxford University
Respectfully called “Manik Da,” Ray received an honorary doctorate by the world-renowned Oxford University. He was the second personality from the film fraternity to be awarded this honor after Charlie Chaplin.
Academy Award For Lifetime Achievement
Ray kept on receiving awards from various countries and places. One of the most amazing facts is that the Bengali filmmaker in 1992 received the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement which the Academy Awards committee awarded him as an honorary Oscar. Incidentally, he is the first Indian ever to receive an honorary Oscar.
Four Roman Typefaces Patented
Satyajit Ray was a multi-talented man and has patents for four Roman typefaces including Ray Bizarre, Ray Roman, Holiday Script, and Daphnis under his name. Ray Bizarre and Ray Roman won an international competition held in 1971.
Launched The Career Of Sharmila Tagore
Ray introduced Sharmila Tagore to the film industry who went on to create a niche for herself in both Bengali and Hindi film industry. He is also credited for introducing Soumitra Chattopadhyay through Apur Sansar in 1995 and collaborated with him for 14 of his films.
Creator Of Famous Bengali Fictitious Sleuth
Satyajit Ray was a prolific writer. He wrote several essays as well as books mostly in Bengali. He is the creator of the famous sleuth in Bengali Feluda as well as the scientist Professor Shonku.
Even today there is no match to the filmmaking skills of Satyajit Ray. Most of his creations were in Bengali and his only work in Hindi was Shatranj Ke Khiladi based on the book by Munshi Premchand by the same name. He was an inspiration to all the filmmakers and his heritage will continue to inspire many for long years to come.