Regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921.
The great auteur is always remembered for his cinematic genius, directorial excellence and futuristic vision conveyed through his films.
Starting his career as a commercial artist, Ray was drawn into independent filmmaking after meeting French filmmaker Jean Renoir and viewing Vittorio De Sica's Italian neorealist film 'Bicycle Thieves' (1948) during a visit to London.
Ray received many major awards in his career, including 36 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, 2 Silver Bears, many additional awards at international film festivals and ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. The Government of India honoured him with the Bharat Ratna, its highest civilian award, in 1992.
On his 101st birth anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about the cinematic legend:
- Ray designed book covers for Signet Press. Some of his notable covers include the ones for Jim Corbett’s classic Man-Eaters of Kumaon and Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India.
- Ray has two fonts named after him. He combined Indian motifs and calligraphy and created four Roman fonts, two of which are Ray Roman and Ray Bizarre.
- Ray was the first person to use a teaser advertising campaign ahead of the release of his first film 'Pather Panchali'.
- The West Bengal government, which was funding 'Pather Panchali', wanted the ending to be changed to make it more positive. The film could make it to the Cannes Film Festival only due to the intervention of the then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Ray composed the music for all his films after 1961 and also designed their publicity posters.
- 'Kanchenjungha' (1962) was the first film based on his own story. It was also his first film in colour.
- Ray made a documentary on his father Sukumar Ray for the West Bengal government in 1987.
- Ray was the music director of the Merchant Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah.
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