"Not to have seen the cinema of Satyajit Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."
These words by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurasawa best describes the man, who is considered to be have changed the face of Indian cinema forever.
Ray made his films in Bengali. Yet, they were of universal interest. His humanistic approach in dealing with the subjects and subtle handling of characters earned him a place among the league of extraordinary filmmakers of the world.
And even today after 16 years of his death in 1992, he still continues to inspire generations with his creative vision. Ray's death anniversary is observed today.
"He is the first filmmaker in Indian to follow the concept of world cinema and is responsible for bringing out the modern aspect of Indian cinema. His films have always been in the realm of realism and the characters always identifiable with the common man," says ten times National Award winning director Jahnu Barua.
"His cinematic discipline is incomparable and speaks volumes about his commitment to his craft," he adds.
From capturing the simplicity of rural life in Apu Trilogy-- Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar and Aparajito, to the deft handling of the loneliness of Charu, with just one line of dialogue in seven minutes in Charulata, he has crafted each of his films with equal elan, brilliance and equanimity.
Born in 1921 in a distinguished family in Calcutta, Ray was a master craftsman, whose films were of no fixed genre unlike many of his contemporaries.
Whether his children fantasy film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969), or urban trilogy with the common theme of corruption Pratidwandi (1970), Seemabaddha (1971) and Jana Aranya (1975) or detective crime fiction like Sonar Kella (1974) and Jai Baba Felunath (1978), all had one common factor, they were close to life and were human in nature.
"His dedication to the medium of film making, his passion for detailing, his understanding of the ethos of the common people and his dealing with the characters were special," says director Rahul Dholakia of Parzania fame.
He is one of the stalwarts who mastered not only the art of direction, but also of screenplay, story writing, and musical qualities which earned him many a fans, including directors like Martin Scorsese, who described his art as magic and as beautiful as poetry.
"Ray's magic, the simple poetry of his images and their emotional impact will always stay with me," Scorsese had said once.
Ray won many awards like the Best Human Document at Cannes for Pather Panchali, the Lionne d'Ore at Venice for Apu trilogy, Lgion d'Honneur, France and Bharatratna and lastly the honorary Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992.