Satyajit Ray: The Lesser-known Facts About the First Indian to Win Honorary Oscar

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Satyajit Ray, one of the most respected filmmakers India has ever seen, was known for the realistic portrayal of life in his films.

Satyajit Ray is one of the world’s finest directors, producers, screenwriters, composers, writers, and graphic designers. Born on May 2, 1921 in Kolkata, Satyajit Ray passed away in 1992 on April 23.

Satyajit Ray’s cinematic heritage has belonged to both India as well as the World. He left behind a legacy of some amazing film-making skills that have no match. His cinema is a rare blend of emotions and intellect, where he perfectly balances sorrow and happiness along with deep observance.

Satyajit Ray had to struggle a lot in his childhood, as his father passed away when he was just three years old. He was popularly called 'Manik da' as a sign of respect.

Satyajit Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali was released in 1955. Pather Panchali won him eleven international prizes, including the inaugural Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. Panther Panchali also became Satyajit Ray’s first film to win international acclaim.

Satyajit Ray directed 36 films in his lifetime, which included feature films, documentaries, and shorts. In addition to being a director and a producer, Satyajit Ray mastered his skills as a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, music composer, graphic designer, and film critic.

Satyajit Ray’s only feature film in Hindi is Shatranj Ke Khiladi, directed in 1977.

In his lifetime, Satyajit Ray won the National Award for the Best Director six times, which is the most by any filmmaker so far. In total, he won 32 National Awards by the Government of India.

Satyajit Ray received an Honorary Academy Award in 1992, becoming the first Indian to receive an Honorary Oscars. He received the Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He was awarded the Legion d'honneur(Legion of Honour) by the President of France in 1987. He was also awarded the honorary Doctorate by Oxford University, the second film personality to receive the honor after Charlie Chaplin.

Satyajit Ray also worked as a graphic designer. He designed many famous book covers like Jim Corbett's Man-Eaters of Kumaon and Jawahar Lal Nehru's Discovery of India.