Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pather Panchali

THE APU TRILOGY 3-Disc set [Pather Panchali-Aparajito-The World of Apu]

Pather Panchali (Bengali: পথের পাঁচালী, Pôther Pãchali, English: Song of the Little Road) is a 1955 Bengali drama film written and directed by Satyajit Ray and produced by the Government of the Indian state of West Bengal. Based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay's 1929 Bengali novel of the same name, the film was the directorial debut of Ray. The first film of The Apu Trilogy, it depicts the childhood of the protagonist Apu in the countryside of Bengal in the 1920s.
Though the film had a shoestring budget of Rs. 150,000 (US$3000), featured mostly amateur actors, and was made by an inexperienced crew, Pather Panchali was a critical and popular success. Influenced by Italian neorealism, Satyajit Ray developed his own style of lyrical realism in this film. The first film from independent India to attract major international critical attention, Pather Panchali won "Best Human Document" at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, establishing Satyajit Ray as a major international filmmaker. Pather Panchali is today considered one of the greatest films ever made.

Kanu Banerjee - Harihar Ray, Apu and Durga's father
Karuna Banerjee - Sarbajaya Ray, Apu and Durga's mother
Subir Banerjee - Apu Ray
Runki Banerjee (Uma Dasgupta, teen) - Durga Ray (Child)
Chunibala Devi - Indir Thakrun, Old aunt
Haren Banerjee - Candy seller

Pather Panchali DVD

The novel Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay is a classic bildungsroman in Bengali literature. It first appeared as a serial in a periodical in 1928, and was published as a book in 1929. The plot was based on the author's own early life. The novel depicts a poor family's struggle to survive in their ancestral rural home and the growing up of Apu, the male child in 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 second film of the Apu trilogy.
Satyajit Ray read the novel in 1943, when he was doing the illustrations for a new edition of it, and contemplated the possibility of making a film based on it in 1947–48. Ray chose the novel because of certain qualities that, according to him, "made it a great book: its humanism, its lyricism, and its ring of truth." The author's widow granted permission for Ray to make a film based on the novel; however, the agreement was in principle only, and no financial arrangement was made.

Kanu Banerjee, an established Bengali film actor, portrayed the role of Harihar Ray, father of Apu and Durga. The role of Sarbajaya, wife of Harihar, was played by an amateur theatre actress of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), Karuna Banerjee, who was the wife of one friend of Ray. Uma Dasgupta, who was selected by an interview to act as Durga, also had prior experience in acting in theatre. For the role of Apu, Ray advertised in newspapers looking for boys of five to seven years age. Several boys turned up in response, but none of them met the expectation of the director. Finally, Ray's wife spotted a boy in their neighbourhood as a possible candidate. This boy, Subir Banerjee, was eventually cast as Apu (the surname of three main actors was Banerjee, although they were not related to each other). The toughest hurdle in the casting process was to identify an actress suitable to enact the character of the wizened, old Indir Thakrun. Ray eventually found Chunibala Devi, a retired stage actress living in a brothel, as the right candidate to portray Indir. Several minor roles were played by the villagers of Boral, the shooting location.

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