Year-long celebrations begin in honour of late Satyajit Ray -- India's legendary filmmaker


A year-long centenary celebrations to pay homage to legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray has been announced by the the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Pic: Courtesy Twitter/@Criterion)

IN Bureau

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced a year-long centenary celebrations in homage of the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The celebrations will be held across India and abroad.

Ray was born on May 2, 1921 and died on April 23, 1992.

A renowned filmmaker, Ray a multi-faceted personality as he was a writer, illustrator, graphic designer and music composer too.  He started his career in advertising and found inspiration for his first film, Pather Panchali, while illustrating the children’s version of the novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay.

His maiden film catapulted him into international fame. He later went on to several other classics like Charulata, Agantuk, Jana Aranya, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Sadgati, Ganashatru andNayak among others.

The Master At Work Satyajit Ray (Pic: Courtesy Twitter/@KS1729)

As a prolific writer, he made the famous sleuth Feluda and scientist Professor Shonku, a popular part of Bengali Literature.

The Government of India honoured Ray with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, in 1992. He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1985, and the Legion of Honor by the President of France in 1987. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ray an Honorary Award in 1992 for Lifetime Achievement. The same year he was posthumously awarded the Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

A series of events and activities as part of the celebrations are being planned by the Media Units of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting including the. Directorate of Film Festivals, Films Division, NFDC, NFAI, and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata.

Other Ministries/Departments including Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture will also be playing an active part.

The celebrations, however, in view of the pandemic situation, will be held in hybrid mode, digital and physical both, during the year.

Award instituted

With a view to recognise the auteur’s legacy, a “Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema” has been instituted from this year. This will be given at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) every year starting from this year. The Award consists of a cash prize of Rs.10 lakhs, a certificate, Shawl, along with a Silver Peacock medal and a Scroll.

Events and Activities

The Directorate of Film Festivals, Films Division and Ministry of External Affairs will be organizing Satyajit Ray Film Festivals in India, and abroad through Indian Missions, where films and documentaries by and on Ray will be showcased.

A Special Retrospective and screening of Ray’s films is being planned at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

The Directorate will also be organising a Special Retrospective at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), 2021. This retrospective will be traveling to prominent international and national film festivals.

The Films Division will be creating a dedicated Satyajit Ray section at the National Museum of Indian Cinema, Mumbai. Hosting memorabilia from Ray’s life in both physical and interactive digital versions, this Section, would also travel to different museums in the country over the year. The memorabilia will include the best shots from his films, interviews etc.

The National Film Archives of India (NFAI) will do restoration and digitization of all the available films and publicity material of Ray. It will also organize a virtual exhibition of the posters of his films.

The NFDC will organize a film festival on its OTT platform, “Cinemas of India”, showcasing five of the maestro’s films.

A statue of Ray will be unveiled at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata at its campus. In order to promote understanding of the filmmaker’s genius, a course on his work will be taught at the Institute.

A package of Ray’s works for children that can be given to schools is also being developed while inter-college competitions on themes from Ray’s films will also be organised amongst film schools.

The Ministry of Culture will be organising cultural activities and showcasing the various perspectives of Ray’s personality and works in arts and literature.

An Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary (I&B) has been set up to oversee these activities. The committee includes senior filmmaker Dhritiman Chaterji as the nominated member, and other senior officials of the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting , Culture and External Affairs.

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