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A Standing Ovation

"Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon." .....Akira Kurosawa

From his very first movie Ray was showered with praise from fans and critics alike from all over the world. Following is a list of a few of the people and organisations that commented favourably, to put it mildly, on Ray and his work.

Satyajit Ray
As Adib
Pauline Kael
R. Sudarshan
Lindsay Anderson
The New York Times
Ruth Prawar Jhabvala
Enclyopaedia Britannica
Magill's Survey of Cinema

Ray with With Toscan du Plantier and Gérard Depardieu

Shooting of a scene in Ganashatru

"The challenge of new ideas is a recurring theme in Ray's films. A hierarchical society, bound by the caste system and by a rigid adherence to the traditional way of doing things, comes into conflict with modernity and enlightenment. In Bengal, toward the end of the last century, even the most enlightened men did not include the liberation of women in their agenda for change. "Such is the setting for Charulata. Regarded as Ray's most accomplished film, Charulata is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, doyen of Indian writers and a great influence on Ray, who studied painting at Tagore's university, Shantiniketan.

"The year is 1879. Charulata is married to Bhupati Dutt, a wealthy intellectual who edits and publishes an English-language weekly paper. Bhupati is excited by the ideas of libertarian philosophers. The issue of the moment is an impending election in faraway Britain, with its prospect of a victory for Gladstone's Liberal party. He feels strongly for his wife-- but it simply never occurs to him that such matters could, or should, be of any interest to her. "Charulata appears to belong to that long line of submissive women portrayed by Ray in a number of films, from the Apu trilogy [1955-8] onward. She is trapped by tradition, enclosed within the shuttered rooms of her husband's house, apparently acquiescent in her role of the compliant wife who wants nothing from life but her husband's happiness. Ray's camera lingers on this prison of a house, with its heavy Victorian furniture, its embroidery, its cameos of Queen Victoria... The tranquility of these early scenes is soon revealed to be superficial, as Ray gently hints at Charulata's restlessness..."

.....Magill's Survey of Cinema

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