Satyajit Ray (1921-1991), polymath, polyglot, novelist, short-story writer, illustrator, designer and music composer, was one of the most eminent film directors of world cinema.
His ‘Pather Panchali’ (Song of the Little Road, 1955) established his position as a major film director, winning him the earliest of the many awards that he was to win throughout his career, culminating in the Lifetime Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Oscars in 1992.
The award, which he could not receive in person because he was ailing, was given to him “in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures and for his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.”
Ray took Indian cinema to a grand platform hitherto unachieved by any Indian film director. “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means,” said Akira Kurosawa, “existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.”
Ray’s films are fairly well-known, but his writings — fiction and non-fiction — written in Bengali and English also continue to attract attention. His illustrations, design works, comic strips, science fiction, detective stories are gems of Indian literature.
Ray’s non-fiction works are gems, which bring to light his thoughts on filmmaking, film appreciation, composition of music, art, design and screenplay, among others. The Penguin Ray Library is an endeavour to open a window to the master’s writings to a wide spectrum of readers.
Some of the titles under The Penguin Ray Library are:
The Best Of Satyajit Ray
From the ever-popular adventures of Ray’s enduring creation, the professional sleuth Feluda to the chronicles of Professor Shonku; short stories; writings on filmmaking; and thoughts on world as well as Indian cinema, among others, this anthology, a two-volume box set, ‘The Best of Satyajit Ray’ is not only a treat for the Ray enthusiasts but also a collector’s edition.
Satyajit Ray Miscellany
‘Satyajit Ray Miscellany’ brings to light some of the rarest essays and illustrations of Ray that opens a window to the myriad thought-process of this creative genius. With more than 70 gripping articles and rare photographs and manuscripts, this book is a collector’s item.
Three Rays: Stories from Satyajit Ray
On the occasion of his centenary birth anniversary, ‘3 Rays: Stories from Satyajit Ray’ opens a window to the brilliance of this Renaissance man. With more than 40 stories and poems along with many unpublished works, autobiographical writings and illustrations by Ray, this volume offers a unique glimpse into Ray’s creative genius.
Speaking Of Films
‘Speaking of Films’ brings together some of Ray’s most memorable writings on film and filmmaking. With the masterly precision and clarity that characterize his films, Ray discusses a wide array of subjects.
He also writes about his own experiences, the challenges of working with rank amateurs, and the innovations in the face of technological, financial and logistical constraints. Ray provides fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of the people who worked with him.
This first-ever translation of ‘Bishay Chalachitra’, a seminal collection of essays on cinema, ‘Speaking of Films’ retains the lucidity and simplicity that is a hallmark of Ray’s writing, and gives an invaluable insight into the mind of a genius.
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