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Satyajit Ray's 98th Birth Anniversary: Lesser-Known Facts About the Filmmaking Legend

Besides being a great filmmaker, Satyajit Ray was also an expert at fiction writing, publishing, illustrating, calligraphy, music composing, graphic designing, and film critiquing.

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Updated:May 2, 2019, 5:47 PM IST
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Satyajit Ray's 98th Birth Anniversary: Lesser-Known Facts About the Filmmaking Legend
Image Courtesy: @HeritageTimesIN/Twitter
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One of the world's finest directors, producers, screenwriters, composers, writers, and graphic designers, Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921, in Kolkata. He died aged 71 on April 23, 1992.

His cinematic heritage was not just limited to India but had a global approach. His filmmaking skills had no match and even today, Ray works as an inspiration to most filmmakers. The perfect blend of emotions and intellect, balancing happiness and sorrow simultaneously, is an art mastered by Ray in a way that his cinematic approach was out of the box.

Before being a filmmaker, Ray also worked as a graphic designer. Remember the book covers of Jim Corbett's Man-Eaters of Kumaon and Jawahar Lal Nehru's Discovery of India? Well, Satyajit Ray is the man behind those creative book covers.

It is also known to a few that besides being a great filmmaker, Ray was also an expert at fiction writing, publishing, illustrating, calligraphy, music composing, graphic designing, and film critiquing.



However, life was not always smooth for him, who had to struggle a lot in his childhood, as his father passed away when Ray was just three years old.

Popularly known as 'Manik da', Ray has amazed the world with his movies and films. His most famous work, Pather Panchali, which was also his first film, was released in the year 1955.

Pather Panchali made Satyajit Ray known to the world, winning him eleven international prizes. At the 1956 Cannes Film Festival in France, Pather Panchali also won the inaugural Best Human Document award - Ray's first film to win international acclaim.

With feature films, documentaries, and shorts, he directed a total of 36 films in his lifetime.

While he was a household name among Bengalis, owing to most of his movies which were made in Bengali, Ray also directed one Hindi film. His only feature film in Hindi is Shatranj Ke Khiladi, which he directed in 1977.

Winning awards was not new for Ray, who made it big with his first movie, Pather Panchali. With six National Awards, Ray became the only director to win so many awards for Best Director so far. He has won 32 National Awards in total by the Government of India.

Even the Academy Awards committee couldn't stop themselves from noticing the work of Ray, and awarded him an honorary Oscar in 1992. With this, Ray became the first Indian to receive an honorary Oscar. He received this award for Lifetime Achievement.

In 1987, Ray was awarded the Legion d'honneur (Legion of Honour) by the President of France. Oxford University also awarded an honorary doctorate to late director Satyajit Ray.

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