Pather Panchali

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Pather Panchali
A poster of Pather Panchali
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Screenplay by Satyajit Ray
Based on Pather Panchali 
by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
Starring Subir Banerjee
Kanu Banerjee
Karuna Banerjee
Uma Dasgupta
Chunibala Devi
Tulsi Chakrabarti
Music by Ravi Shankar
Cinematography Subrata Mitra
Editing by Dulal Dutta
Studio Government of West Bengal
Distributed by Aurora Film Corporation (1955)
Edward Harrison (1958)
Merchant Ivory Productions
Sony Pictures Classics (1995)
Release dates
  • 26 August 1955 (1955-08-26) (India)
Running time 112–126 minutes[a]
Country India
Language Bengali
Budget INR70,000–150,000[b] (approximately US$14,613–31,315)[c]

Pather Panchali ([pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali], English: Song of the Little Road) is a 1955 Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray and produced by the Government of West Bengal, India. It is based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay's 1929 Bengali novel of the same name and is Ray's directorial debut. It features Subir Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee, Uma Dasgupta and Chunibala Devi in major roles. The first film in The Apu Trilogy, Pather Panchali depicts the childhood of the protagonist Apu (Subir Banerjee) and his elder sister Durga (Uma Dasgupta), and the harsh village life of their poor family.

Production was interrupted due to funding problems and took nearly three years. The film was shot mainly on location, had a limited budget,[b] featured mostly amateur actors, and was made by an inexperienced crew. The sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar composed its soundtrack using classical Indian ragas. Following its premiere in 1955 during an exhibition in New York's Museum of Modern Art, Pather Panchali was released in Calcutta the same year to enthusiastic reception. A special screening was attended by the Chief Minister of West Bengal and the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Critics have praised its realism, humanity and soul-stirring quality, while others have counted its slow pace a drawback, and some have condemned it for romanticising poverty. Scholars have commented on the film's lyrical realism (influenced by Italian neorealism), its portrayal of the poverty and small delights of daily life, and the use of what the author Darius Cooper has termed the "epiphany of wonder", among other themes.

The tale of Apu's life is continued in the two subsequent installments of Ray's Apu Trilogy: Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959). Pather Panchali is described as a turning point in Indian cinema, as it was among the films that pioneered the Parallel Cinema movement, which espoused authenticity and social realism. The first film from independent India to attract major international critical attention, it won India's National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1955, the Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and several other awards, establishing Ray as a distinguished filmmaker. It features in several lists of great films.


Harihar Roy (Kanu Banerjee) earns a meagre living as a pujari (priest) in Nischindipur, rural Bengal, and dreams of a better career as a poet and playwright. Harihar's wife, Sarbajaya (Karuna Banerjee), takes care of their two children, Durga (Uma Dasgupta) and Apu (Subir Banerjee), and Harihar's elderly cousin sister, Indir Thakrun (Chunibala Devi). Because of their limited resources, Sarbajaya resents having to share her home with the old and helpless cripple Indir. At times, Sarbajaya's taunts become offensive, forcing Indir to take temporary refuge in the home of another relative. Durga is fond of Indir and often gives her fruit she has stolen from a wealthy neighbour's orchard. One day, the neighbour's wife accuses Durga of stealing a bead necklace (which Durga denies) and blames Sarbajaya for encouraging her tendency to steal.

As the elder sister, Durga cares for her brother Apu with motherly affection, although she spares no opportunity to tease him. They share the simple joys of life, such as sitting quietly under a tree, viewing pictures in a bioscope shown by a travelling vendor, running after the candy man who passes through the village, and watching a jatra (a type of folk theatre) performed by a troupe of actors. Every evening they are delighted by the sound of a distant train's whistle. One day they run away from home to catch a glimpse of the train, returning to discover Indir lying dead.

Unable to earn a good living in the village, Harihar travels to the city to seek a better job. He promises Sarbajaya that he will return with money to repair their dilapidated house. During his absence, the family sinks deeper into poverty. Sarbajaya grows increasingly lonely and bitter. One day during the monsoon season, Durga dances playfully in the downpour for a long time. She catches a cold and develops a high fever from which, lacking adequate medical care, she does not recover. On a night of incessant rain and gusty winds, she dies. Harihar returns home and starts to show Sarbajaya the merchandise he has brought from the city. Sarbajaya, who remains silent, breaks down at the feet of her husband, and Harihar screams as he discovers that he has lost his daughter. The family decide to leave their ancestral home. As they start packing, Apu finds the necklace that Durga had earlier denied having stolen; he throws it into a pond. Apu and his parents leave the village on an ox-cart.



Novel and title[edit]

Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay's novel Pather Panchali is a classic bildungsroman (a type of coming-of-age story) in the canon of Bengali literature.[1][2] It appeared in 1928 as a serial in a Calcutta periodical[3] and was published as a book in 1929.[4] The novel depicts a poor family's struggle to survive in their rural ancestral home and the growing up of Apu, the son of the family. The later part of the novel, where Apu and his parents leave the village and settle in Benaras, formed the basis of Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956), the second film of the Apu trilogy.[5]

Satyajit Ray, working as a graphic designer for Signet Press, created the illustrations for a new abridged edition of the book in 1944.[6][7] At that time, he read the unabridged novel.[8] D.K. Gupta, the owner of Signet, told Ray that the abridged version would make a great film.[9] The idea attracted Ray, and around 1946–47, when he was considering making a film,[10] he chose Pather Panchali because of certain qualities that, in his opinion, "made it a great book: its humanism, its lyricism, and its ring of truth".[11] The author's widow permitted Ray to make a film based on the novel; the agreement was in principle only, and no financial arrangement was made.[12]

The Bengali word path literally means path, and pather means "of the path". The word Panchali refers to a type of narrative folk song that used to be performed in Bengal and was the forerunner of another type of folk performance, known as jatra.[13] English translations of the Bengali title include Song of the Little Road,[3] The Lament of the Path,[14][15] Song of the Road,[16] and Song of the Open Road.[17]


In 1949 the French director Jean Renoir came to Calcutta to shoot his film The River (1951).[18] Ray, a founding member of the Calcutta Film Society (established in 1947), helped him scout for locations in the countryside.[18] When Ray told him about his long-pending wish to film Pather Panchali, Renoir encouraged him to proceed.[19] In 1950 Ray was sent to London by his employer, the advertising agency D.J. Keymer, to work at their headquarters. During his six months in London, he watched about 100 films.[20] Among these, Vittorio De Sica's neorealist film Bicycle Thieves (1948) had a profound impact on him. In a 1982 lecture, Ray said that he had come out of the theatre determined to become a filmmaker.[20] The film made him believe that it was possible to make realistic cinema shot on location with an amateur cast.[21]

The realist narrative style of Pather Panchali was influenced by Italian neorealism and the works of Renoir.[22][23] The international success of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950) and Bimal Roy's 1953 film Do Bigha Zamin (which was shot partly on location and was about a peasant family) led Ray to believe that Pather Panchali would find an international audience.[24] In addition to these foreign influences, Ray was influenced by Bengali literature and the native Indian theatrical tradition, particularly the rasa theory of classical Sanskrit drama. (Darius Cooper describes the complicated doctrine of rasa as "center[ed] predominantly on feeling experienced not only by the characters but also conveyed in a certain artistic way to the spectator".[25])


The film did not have a script; it was made from Ray's drawings and notes.[26] Ray completed the first draft of the notes during his sea voyage to and from London in 1950.[27] Before the start of principal photography, he created a storyboard dealing with details and continuity.[28] Years later, he donated those drawings and notes to Cinémathèque Française.[29]

In his book Apur Panchali (the Bengali translation of his 1994 book My Years with Apu: A Memoir), Ray wrote that many characters from the original novel had been omitted from the film and that he had rearranged some sequences of the novel to make the narrative better as cinema.[30] Changes include Indir's death, which occurs early in the novel at a village shrine in the presence of adults, while in the film Apu and Durga find her corpse in the open.[5] The scene of Apu and Durga running to catch a glimpse of the train is not in the novel, in which neither child ever sees the train, although they try.[5] In the film, Durga's fatal fever is attributed to a monsoon downpour, while the novel identifies no specific cause.[5] The ending of the film—the family's departure from the village—is not the end of the novel.[5]

Ray tried to extract a simple theme from the random sequences of significant and trivial episodes of the novel, while preserving what W. Andrew Robinson describes as the "loitering impression" it creates.[5] According to Ray, "the script had to retain some of the rambling quality of the novel because that in itself contained a clue to the feel of authenticity: life in a poor Bengali village does ramble."[11] Robinson comments that the film, with Ray's adaptation, focuses mainly on Apu and his family and lacks the novel's greater detail about the village as a whole.[31]


Kanu Banerjee, an established Bengali film actor, portrayed Harihar, father of Apu and Durga. Sarbajaya, wife of Harihar, was played by Karuna Banerjee, an amateur theatre actress of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), who was the wife of Ray's friend.[32] Uma Dasgupta, who won the part of Durga through an audition,[32] also had prior experience of acting in the theatre.[33] For the role of Apu, Ray advertised in newspapers for boys of five to seven years of age.[32] The candidates who auditioned did not meet his requirements, but Ray's wife spotted a boy in their neighbourhood, and this boy, Subir Banerjee, was cast as Apu. (The surname of three of the main actors was Banerjee, but they were not related to each other). The hardest role to fill was the wizened old Indir. Ray eventually found Chunibala Devi, a retired stage actress living in one of Calcutta's red-light districts, as the ideal candidate.[34] Several minor roles were played by the villagers of Boral, the shooting location.[33]


Apu and Durga running to catch a glimpse of a train, a famous scene of the film[35]

Shooting started on 27 October 1952.[33] Boral, a village near Calcutta, was selected in early 1953 as the main location for principal photography, and night scenes were shot in-studio.[33] The technical team included several first-timers, including Ray himself and cinematographer Subrata Mitra, who had never operated a film camera. Art director Bansi Chandragupta had professional experience, having worked with Jean Renoir on The River. Both Mitra and Chandragupta went on to establish themselves as respected professionals.[36][37]

Mitra had met Ray on the set of The River, where Mitra was allowed to observe the production, take still photographs and make notes about lighting for personal reference. Having become friends, Mitra kept Ray informed about the production and showed his photographs. Ray was impressed enough by them to promise him an assistant's position on Pather Panchali, and when production neared, Ray invited him to shoot the film. As Mitra had no prior filmmaking experience and was only 21, the choice was met with scepticism by those who knew of the production. Mitra himself later speculated that Ray was nervous about working with an established crew.[38]

Funding was a problem from the outset. No producer was willing to produce the film, as it lacked stars, songs and action scenes.[12][39] On learning of Ray's plan, one producer, Mr Bhattacharya of Kalpana Movies, contacted Bandopadhyay's widow to request the filming rights and get the film directed by Debaki Bose, a well-established director. The widow declined.[40] The estimated budget for the production was INR70,000 (about US$14,613 in 1955).[39][c] One producer, Rana Dutta, gave money to continue shooting, but stopped doing so after some other films he had produced flopped.[24]

Ray had to borrow money to shoot enough footage to persuade prospective producers to finance the whole film.[12] To raise funds during production, Ray continued working as a graphic designer, pawned his life insurance policy and sold his collection of LP records. Production manager Anil Chowdhury convinced Ray's wife, Bijoya, to pawn her jewels.[24] Ray still ran out of money partway through filming. Shooting had to be suspended for nearly a year, and thereafter it could be done only in intermittent bursts.[41] Ray acknowledged later that the delays had made him tense, and that three miracles had saved the film: "One, Apu's [Subir Banerjee] voice did not break. Two, Durga [Uma Dasgupta] did not grow up. Three, Indir Thakrun [Chunibala Devi] did not die."[42]

Bidhan Chandra Roy, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, was requested by an influential friend of Ray's mother to help the production.[41] Roy obliged, and government officials saw the footage.[43] The Home Publicity Department of the government of West Bengal assessed the cost of backing the film[42] and sanctioned a loan, given in installments, allowing Ray to finish production.[d] The government misunderstood the nature of the film, believing it to be a documentary for rural uplift,[41] and recorded the loan as being for "roads improvement", a reference to the film's title.[44]

Monroe Wheeler, head of the Department of Exhibitions and Publications of New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),[45] who was in Calcutta in 1954, heard about the project and met Ray. He considered the incomplete footage to be of very high quality and encouraged Ray to finish the film so that it could be shown during an exhibition in MoMA the following year.[41] About six months after Wheeler's visit, American director John Huston visited India for some early location scouting for The Man Who Would Be King (which was eventually made in 1975).[46] Wheeler had asked Huston to check the progress of Ray's project.[47] Huston saw excerpts of the unfinished film and recognised "the footage as the work of a great film-maker".[46] Due to Huston's positive feedback, MoMA helped Ray with additional money.[48] It took three years to complete the shooting.[49]


Ravi Shankar (1988 photograph) composed the soundtrack for the film.

The soundtrack of the film was composed by the sitar player Ravi Shankar, who was at an early stage of his career, having debuted in 1939.[50] The background scores feature pieces based on several ragas of Indian classical music, played mostly on the sitar. The soundtrack, described in a 1995 issue of The Village Voice as "at once plaintive and exhilarating",[51] is featured in The Guardian's 2007 list of 50 greatest film soundtracks.[52] It has also been cited as a major influence on The Beatles, specifically George Harrison.[53]

Shankar saw about half the film in a roughly edited version before composing the background score, but he was already familiar with the story.[54][46] According to Robinson, when Ray met Shankar the latter hummed a tune that was folk-based but had "a certain sophistication".[46] This tune, usually played on a bamboo flute, became the main theme for the film. The majority of the score was composed within the duration of a single night, in a session that lasted for about eleven hours.[46] Shankar also composed two solo sitar pieces—one based on the raga Desh (traditionally associated with rain), and one sombre piece based on the raga Todi. [55] He created a piece based on the raga Patdeep, played on the tar shehnai, to accompany the scene in which Harihar learns of Durga's death.[56] The film's cinematographer, Subrata Mitra, performed on the sitar for parts of the soundtrack.[57]

Release and reception[edit]

Ray and his crew worked long hours during post-production, just managing to send the film to the MoMA, where it was scheduled to be shown in conjunction with the Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India exhibition of May 1955.[56][58] The film, billed as The Story of Apu and Durga, lacked subtitles.[56] It was one of a series of six evening performances at MoMA, including the US debut of sarod player Ali Akbar Khan and the classical dancer Shanta Rao. Pather Panchali's MoMA opening was well received.[56] Subsequently, the film had its domestic premiere at the annual meeting of the Advertising Club of Calcutta;[59] the response there was not positive, and Ray felt "extremely discouraged".[59] Before its theatrical release in Calcutta, Ray designed large posters, including a neon sign showing Apu and Durga running, which was strategically placed in a busy location in the city.[59] Pather Panchali was released in a Calcutta cinema on 26 August 1955 and received a poor initial response.[59] Due to word of mouth, the screenings started filling up within a week or two. It opened again at another cinema, where it ran for seven weeks.[59] A delay in subtitling led to the postponement of the UK release until December 1957.[60] It went on to achieve great success in the US in 1958, running for eight months at the Fifth Avenue Playhouse in New York.[60]

In India the film's reception was enthusiastic. The Times of India wrote, "It is absurd to compare it with any other Indian cinema ... Pather Panchali is pure cinema".[61] Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy arranged a special screening in a Calcutta theatre for Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was impressed by the film.[62] Despite opposition from some within the Governments of West Bengal and India because of its depiction of poverty, Pather Panchali was sent to the 1956 Cannes Film Festival with Nehru's personal approval.[63] It was screened towards the end of the festival, coinciding with a party given by the Japanese delegation, and only a small number of critics attended. Although some were initially unenthusiastic at the prospect of yet another Indian melodrama, the film critic Arturo Lanocita found "the magic horse of poetry ... invading the screen".[64] The film was subsequently awarded the Best Human Document prize at the festival.[64]

Lindsay Anderson commented after the Cannes screening that Pather Panchali had "the quality of ultimate unforgettable experience".[65] In subsequent years critics have given positive reviews. A 1958 review in Time described Pather Panchali as "perhaps the finest piece of filmed folklore since Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North".[14] In her 1982 book 5001 Nights at the Movies, Pauline Kael commented, "Beautiful, sometimes funny, and full of love, it brought a new vision of India to the screen".[66] Basil Wright considered it "a new and incontrovertible work of art".[67][e] James Berardinelli wrote in 1996 that the film "touches the souls and minds of viewers, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers".[68] In 2006 Philip French of The Observer called it "one of the greatest pictures ever made".[69] Twenty years after the release of Pather Panchali, Akira Kurosawa summarised the effect of the film as overwhelming, and lauded its ability "to stir up deep passions".[70]

The reaction was not uniformly positive. After watching the film, François Truffaut is reported to have said, "I don't want to see a movie of peasants eating with their hands."[44] Bosley Crowther, the most influential critic of The New York Times,[71] wrote in a 1958 review of the film, "Any picture as loose in structure or as listless in tempo as this one is would barely pass as a "rough cut" with the editors in Hollywood", even though he praised its gradually emerging poignancy and poetic quality.[16] The Harvard Crimson commented in 1959 that its fragmentary nature "contributes to the film's great weakness: its general diffuseness, its inability to command sustained attention. For Pather Panchali, remarkable as it may be, is something of a chore to sit through."[72] Early in 1980s, Ray was criticised by Indian Member of Parliament and former actress Nargis Dutt, who accused him of "exporting poverty".[73] While many critics celebrated Pather Panchali as a eulogy of third world culture, others criticised it for what they took to be romanticisation of such a culture.[74]

As of December 2013, the film has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on an aggregate of 34 reviews.[75] Pather Panchali is available in DVD in Region 2 (DVD region code) PAL and Region 1 NTSC formats. Artificial Eye Entertainment is the distributor of Region 2 while Columbia Tri-Star is the distributor of Region 1 format.[76]


In his 1958 review, Crowther writes that Pather Panchali delicately illustrates how "poverty does not always nullify love" and how even very poor people can enjoy the little pleasures of their world.[16] Marie Seton describes how the film intersperses the depiction of poverty and the delights and pleasures of youth.[77] She represents the bond between Durga and Indir, and their fate, as signifying a philosophical core: that both young and old die.[78] Seton writes of the film's "lyrical" qualities, noting especially the imagery immediately before the onset of monsoon.[79]

Darius Cooper discusses the use of different rasa in the film,[80] observing Apu's repeated "epiphany of wonder",[f][81] brought about not only by what Apu sees around him, but also when he uses his imagination to create another world.[82] Cooper has analysed that the immersive experience of the film corresponds to this epiphany of wonder. Stephen Teo uses the scene in which Apu and Durga discover railway tracks as an example of gradual build-up of the epiphany and the resulting immersive experience.[83]

Sharmishtha Gooptu discusses the idea that the idyllic village life portrayed in Pather Panchali represents authentic Bengali village life, which disappeared during the upheavals of the partition of Bengal in 1947. She suggests that the film seeks to connect an idealised past (pre-partition) with the actual present (post-partition, when the film was made),[84] and that the film uses prototypes of rural Bengal to construct an image of the ideal village.[85]

Mitali Pati and Suranjan Ganguly discuss Ray's use of eye-level shots, natural lighting, long takes, and other techniques to achieve realism.[86] Mainak Biswas has commented that Pather Panchali comes very near to the concept of Italian neorealism, as there are many passages in the film during which there is no dramatic development, even though the usual realities of life, such as the changing of seasons, passing of a day, are concretely filmed.[87]


Pather Panchali has won many national and international awards.[88] It won the 1955 National Film Award for Best Feature Film (President's Gold Medal) and the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali (President's Silver Medal) in India's 3rd National Film Awards.[89] It was in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival,[90] where it won the award for Best Human Document[88] and an OCIC Award – Special Mention. It was nominated for Best Film in the 1958 British Academy Film Awards.[91] Several other awards followed: Vatican Award (Rome),[92] Golden Carbao (Manila),[88] and Diploma of Merit at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1956;[92] Selznick Golden Laurel for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival and Golden Gate for Best Director as well as Golden Gate for Best Picture at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1957;[92] Best Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Critics' Award for Best Film at the Stratford Film Festival,[92][93] and Best Foreign Language Film at the National Board of Review Awards in 1958;[94] Best Foreign Film at the Afro Arts Theater,[92] New York in 1959; Kinema Jumpo Award for Best Foreign Film in Japan in 1966;[92] and Bodil Award for Best Non-European Film in Denmark in 1969.[95]

Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute's film magazine, included the film several times in its Critics' Poll list of all-time greatest films in 1962 (ranked at No. 11),[96] 1992 (ranked at No. 6)[97] and 2002 (ranked at No. 22).[98] The magazine ranked the film at No. 42 in its 2012 list of "Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time".[99] In 1998, in the Asian film magazine Cinemaya's critics' poll of all-time greatest films, Pather Panchali was ranked at No. 2.[100] The Village Voice ranked the film at No. 12 (tied with The Godfather) in its Top 250 "Best Films of the Century" list in 1999, based on a poll of critics.[101]

Pather Panchali was included in various other all-time greatest film lists, including Time Out magazine's "Centenary Top One Hundred Films" in 1995,[102] the San Francisco Chronicle "Hot 100 Films From the Past" in 1997,[103] the Rolling Stone "100 Maverick Movies of the Last 100 Years" in 1999,[104] "The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" in 2002,[105] the British Film Institute's (BFI) Top Fifty "Must See" Children's Films in 2005,[106] and BFI's "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time.[107] It was included in 2013 in CNN-IBN's list of "100 greatest Indian films of all time",[108] and in NDTV's list of "India's 20 greatest films".[109] The Apu Trilogy as a whole was included in film critic Roger Ebert's list of "100 Great Movies" in 2001[110] and in Time magazine's All-Time 100 best movies list in 2005.[111]


Pather Panchali is considered one of Satyajit Ray's best works.

Pather Panchali was followed by two films that continued the tale of Apu's life—Aparajito (The Unvanquished) in 1956 and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) in 1959. The three films together are known as the Apu Trilogy. Aparajito portrays the adolescent Apu, his education in a rural school and in a Calcutta college. Its central theme is the poignant relationship between a doting mother and her ambitious young son. Apur Sansar tells the story of Apu's adult life, his reaction to the premature death of his wife, and his final bonding with his son whom he left as an infant. Both sequels won many national and international awards. Ray did not initially plan to make a trilogy: he decided to make the third film only after being asked about the possibility of a trilogy at the 1957 Venice Film Festival,[112] where Aparajito won the Golden Lion award.[113] Apur Panchali (2013) is a Bengali film directed by Kaushik Ganguly, which depicts the real-life story of Subir Bannerjee, the actor who portrayed Apu in Pather Panchali.[114]

Pather Panchali was the first film made in independent India to receive major critical attention internationally, placing India on the world cinema map.[115][67] It was one of the first examples of Parallel Cinema, a new tradition of Indian film-making in which authenticity and social realism were key themes,[116] breaking the rule of the Indian film establishment.[35][117] Although Pather Panchali was described as a turning point in Indian cinema,[118] some commentators preferred the view that it refined a "realist textual principle" that was already there.[22] In 1963 Time noted that thanks to Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray was one of the "hardy little band of inspired pioneers" of a new cinematic movement that was enjoying a good number of imitators worldwide.[119] The film has since been considered as a "global landmark" and "among the essential moviegoing experiences".[120] On 2 May 2013, commemorating Ray's birthday, the Indian version of the search engine Google displayed a doodle featuring the train sequence.[121][122]

After Pather Panchali, Ray went on to make a total of 37 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. His work included scripting, casting, scoring, cinematography, art direction, editing and designing his own credit titles and publicity material. He developed a distinctive style of film-making[123] based on visual lyricism and strong humanism,[124][125] as in his debut film Pather Panchali. Thus Ray established himself as an auteur of cinema.[123]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Different sources identify different running times for the film. A Museum of Modern Art anthology states 112 minutes. (Bee, Hellczer & McFadden 2013, p. 204) An LA Weekly notice states 115 minutes.[126] Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian states 125 minutes in a 2010 report.[127] Rovi Hal Erickson of The New York Times states 126 minutes in a review summary in NYT Critics' Pick.[15] In 2005 Doug Pratt states 125 minutes but mentions that most references list the running time at about 10 minutes less than that. (Pratt 2005, p. 908)
  2. ^ a b Satyajit Ray wrote in My Years with Apu: A Memoir (1994) that the budget was INR70,000, (Ray 1996, p. 36) and the loan from the government of West Bengal was Rs 70,000. (Ray 1996, p. 60) During an interview in 1970, in reply to the question "How much did the production of Pather Panchali cost in all, if you count in the value of the rupee today?", Ray said, "In those days it cost a little over Rs. 150,000, whereas an average film now costs twice that much." (Isaksson 2007, p. 40)
  3. ^ a b The exchange rate in 1955 was INR4.79 per 1 US dollar (US$). (Kalra 2012, p. 408)
  4. ^ Ray writes that the amount of loan was Rs 70,000. (Ray 2005, p. 77)
  5. ^ The comment by Basil Wright appears in James Chapman's 2003 book Cinemas of the World: Film and Society from 1895 to the Present. The year of the comment is not mentioned. (Chapman 2003, p. 323)
  6. ^ Darius Cooper uses the term "epiphany of wonder" to denote the rasa of camatkara. He quotes Abhinavabharati by Abhinavagupta to explain the camatkara rasa: "... camatkara is an uninterrupted (acchina) state of immersion (avesha) in an enjoyment characterized by the presence of a sensation of inner fullness (trpti). It might be said indeed that camatkara is the action proper to a tasting (cam) or enjoying subject, i.e., to a person immersed in the inner movement (trpti) of a magical (adbhuta) enjoyment." (Cooper 2000, pp. 24–25) Cooper says that through Apu the "universe is revealed. To Apu is given the dominant quality of camatkara, and it is through this sense of wonder that Apu is made to discover and enjoy not only the world that constantly surrounds him but also that other world created by his pratibha or imagination." (Cooper 2000, p. 25)


  1. ^ Gokulsing & Dissanayake 2013, p. 277.
  2. ^ Gugelberger 1996, p. 173.
  3. ^ a b Robinson 1989, p. 74.
  4. ^ Sekhar, Saumitra. "Pather Panchali". Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Robinson 1989, p. 75.
  6. ^ Ray 2010, p. 22.
  7. ^ Robinson 1989, p. 58.
  8. ^ Ray 2010, pp. 22–23.
  9. ^ Ray 2010, p. 23.
  10. ^ Isaksson 2007, p. 39.
  11. ^ a b Ray 2005, p. 33.
  12. ^ a b c Robinson 1989, p. 77.
  13. ^ Mohanta, Sambaru Chandra. "Panchali". Banglapedia. The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 24 May 2005. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Harrison, Edward (20 October 1958). "Cinema: New Picture". Time. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2008. (subscription required)
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