This film dramatizes the death of Apu’s father and mother and Apu’s own growth into manhood and independence. Set in 1920, the family is living in Benares, where the father reads the scriptures to an audience of widows. They live in a small house in the city. Afflicted with old age and illness, he dies while on the ghats of Benares. Sabajaya is left alone to fend for herself and Apu. She decides to return to live in the country and becomes a cook in a zamindar’s house. She wants Apu to become a priest, but he wants to go to school. She makes sacrifices so that he might pursue his studies. Apu, having won a scholarship, departs for Calcutta, leaving her alone. When he returns to the country to see her, he is bored and can’t wait to leave again. Sabajaya falls ill and Apu, delayed by his exams, arrives too late. He departs again for Calcutta, sad but free. –Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center
Satyajit Ray is one of cinema’s truest Renaissance men. In addition to his films, he is a reputed writer of short stories, a music composer (scores for his own films and other film-makers, notably Merchant-Ivory’s Shakespeare Wallah) and a painter and graphic designer of considerable skill. Appropriately enough, Ray derived from a background of great culture, the son of poet Sukumar Ray who died when he was three years old. His interest in fine arts, literature and painting led him to reside at Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan (an intellectual retreat for artists and thinkers) for a significant period of time. Ray’s true love however was the cinema. The cinema of 30s Hollywood, which included Fred Astaire musicals and comedies by Ernst Lubitsch; Russian films he devoured in repeated viewings at the Calcutta Film Society (which he co-founded in 1947) and later the Italian neorealist films which he discovered in London.
At the time of the Second World War, and the final period of… read more
Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy is a microcosm for the story of pre-independence India through the eyes of its greatest director. Throughout the three films there is little sign of British rule, as her… read review