100 Beautiful Moments From Satyajit Ray’s Films
100 Beautiful Moments From Satyajit Ray’s Films

On the master’s 100th birth anniversary, here is the most comprehensive list of 100 beautiful, stunning, breath taking, and ground breaking moments from Satyajit Ray’s filmography 1.Apu’s introduction in Pather Panchali with him popping his eye open as Durga tries to force him to wake up 2. Young Durga comes across the dead body of […]

On the master’s 100th birth anniversary, here is the most comprehensive list of 100 beautiful, stunning, breath taking, and ground breaking moments from Satyajit Ray’s filmography


1.Apu’s introduction in Pather Panchali with him popping his eye open as Durga tries to force him to wake up



2. Young Durga comes across the dead body of her grand-aunt, Indir Thakrun, in the middle of a bamboo forest, facing death for the first time, and not knowing what it is



3. Apu watching a play for the first time during Durga Puja, tearing up as the lead character in the jatra nears her tragic end


4. The rain sequence, which opens with a stunning close up of a drop of rain falling on a bald man’s head, then drizzling over the water lily leaves, the pond, and finally starts pouring torrentially



5. Of course, everybody’s favourite: Apu and Durga see a train chug by a field of white kaash flowers, belching dark, thick smoke



6. The ghats of Benaras in Aparajito, shot in Italian-style chiaroscuro, and sharp edges


7.After a painful life, Harihar, Apu’s father, finally passes away, leaving the son alone with the mother



8. Sarbajaya, Apu’s mother, driven into near hysteria by loneliness, pain, and misery, hallucinates a swarm of fireflies, as she constantly calls for her son, and finally passes away


9. The stunningly handsome Soumitro Chatterjee as adult Apu in Apur Sansar, final part of the Apu Trilogy, lying on his rickety bed in his Calcutta mess, playing the flute


10. A young Sharmila Tagore as Aparna, Apu’s accidental new wife, stares through a hole in the thread curtain of Apu’s apartment, and breaks down as she misses home and wonders what her future might be



11. Apu and Aparna’s tender love story, especially when Apu wakes up and pulls out his cigarette box, opens it, to find a chit that says, “You’ve promised you’ll only smoke one after meals”, and looks at Aparna smiling naughtily at him


12. Aparna lights a matchstick for Apu’s cigarette in the horse carriage one evening, and he is mesmerised by her beauty in that glowing light and asks her, “What is it about your eyes?” and she innocently replies, “Kajal”



13. Like Shiva after the death of Sati, Apu roams around the world, listless and heartbroken, after Aparna’s death, does not meet his newborn son, and becomes a shadow of his past self. A dejected Apu, always dreaming of finishing his ground breaking novel, stands at the edge of a cliff and drops the pages of his unfinished book, watching then float in the air


14. Apu finally meets his son, after 12 years, and asks him, if he wants to be his friend. A father and son reunite



15. Chhabi Biswas, the ageing zamindar in Jalsaghar, lords over his crumbling mansion from the terrace, trying to hold on to past glory, and interacts with his darling elephant


16. The zamindar’s family’s tragic boat accident is hinted at with a fly drowning in a glass of wine, with the reflection of the ornamental chandelier of the music room falling on it



17. Roshan Kumari’s outstanding kathak sequence


18. Begum Akhtar and Ustad Bismillah Khan’s performance for the zamindar, as a swansong to his zamindari


19. In Devi, Chhabi Biswas, yet again an ageing zamindar, seeing a stunning dream where his young daughter-in-law, Uma (Sharmila Tagore) takes the form of the goddess Kali and commands him to worship her


20. Torn between her divine identity, her father-in-law’s obsession with her, and her scientific-minded husband’s criticism, Uma is driven to mania, and she flees from the house, disappearing into a forest of flowers


21. Monimalika’s haunting performance of a Rabindra Sangeet in Monihara, one part of Teen Kanya, echoes with loneliness, frustration, and a burning desire to break free from her golden cage



22. Suspicious of her husband’s intentions, Moni unwittingly decides to flee with a distant cousin, but making sure that she wears every single piece of jewellery she owns, glimmering like a goddess in the lantern light, daring her husband to pawn off her property to save his business


23. After her boat capsizes, the jewellery-obsessed spirit of Moni comes back every night for a pair of bangles her husband had promised, finally entering the room on the third night, and claiming what’s hers with her skeleton hands


24. The third part of Teen Kanya, Samapti, has a Calcutta-returned Amulya (ever-handsome Soumitro Chatterjee) coming home to his village to get married. He gets off the boat into a puddle, much to the glee of young Mrinmoyee (Aparna Sen in her acting debut), who cackles from a nearby tree


25. Amulya goes to meet a prospective bride, but the whole meeting turns into chaos, thanks to Mrinmoyee and her pet squirrel


26. After being forced into marrying Amulya, Mrinmoyee waits for him to fall asleep after the wedding, and removes all her jewellery, and stuffs them inside his gramophone



27. Mrinmoyee runs off to the river bank on her wedding night and spends the night on her favourite swing, bathing in moonlight


28. An angry Mrinmoyee decides to rampage around Amulya’s room in anger after having been dragged back home the next morning


29. Amulya drops her off at her mother’s house and leaves for Calcutta, and Mrinmoyee spends her days depressed, but not knowing why, until her squirrel dies and she realises that she actually misses her husband and has finally grown up


30. Amulya is tricked by his mother to come back home, only to find Mrinmoyee missing. It is a stormy night and everybody runs around the village to look for her in the rain. A drenched Amulya, dejected, comes back to his room, only to see, through his foggy glasses, that Mrinmoyee is waiting for him


31. The introductory opening sequence of Charulata, with Charu, her books, and her trusted binoculars



32. Amal (Soumitro Chatterjee), Charu’s brother-in-law, enters the house and her life in the middle of a storm, signifying the storm that will ravage her relationships


33. Charu realising that she is falling in love with Amal, as she oscillates on her garden swing, watching him write on a maadur nearby



34. Amal sings Aami Chini Go Chini Tomaare Ogo Bideshini for Charu (voiced by Kishore Kumar)



35. Charu, desperate to prove that she is a better writer than Amal, sits down to write from personal experience, and day dreams about her childhood with a fantastic montage


36. The famous — and much debated — ending of the film has Charu and Bhupati, her husband, trying to reach out to each other, after Bhupati realises that Charu is in love with Amal, and then freezing in time, forever stuck, and forever apart


37. Every single scene with the legendary Robi Ghosh in the Mahapurush segment of Kapurush O Mahapurush


38. Birinchi Baba, the fraud sadhu, explains the movement of time with two fingers rotating in opposite directions simultaneously


39. The drop dead gorgeous Uttam Kumar is introduced as a movie star in Nayak



40. Arindam (Uttam Kumar) is approached by a women’s magazine’s feminist journalist, Aditi (Sharmila Tagore), for an interview in the dining car of the train, and what follows is a crackling, and sarcastic repartee


41. Arindam jumps and skips through mountains of money



42. The various flashbacks of Arindam slowly becoming a movie star, shedding his struggling theatre actor history


43. The famous memory game sequence from Aranyer Din Ratri



44. The four drunk city boys in Palamau, Bihar, have a blast at the tribal liquor shop, flirt with a tribal girl (Simi Garewal), and create a ruckus on the main road



45. The intellectual discussions at a coffee house in Pratidwandi, capturing a slice of history of Calcutta


46. Siddhartha (Dhritiman Chatterjee) observes the gut-wrenching conditions of unemployed young people in long queues for job interviews


47. After the interviewer asks him irrelevant questions, he stares at a panel of skeletons


48. Siddhartha, at the end of the film, has taken a modest job far from the city and the girl he loves, and is standing in his balcony, listening to a bird sing, but also the chanting from a funeral procession nearby, symbolic of the death of his dreams


49. Harindranath Chatterjee as the rich but lecherous Sir Baren Roy in the second instalment of Ray’s Calcutta Trilogy, Seemabaddha


50. The race course sequence – a biting commentary of old money, and the nouveau riche – introduces the glamourous leads of the film, Barun Chanda and Sharmila Tagore



51. Definitely one of the country’s best musicals and best films for children, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne introduces a tone-deaf Goopy who is kicked out of his village on a donkey



52. The six-and-a-half-minute dance of the ghosts, drawing influences for Bengali history and Hindu caste system


53. Goopy and Bagha win three boons from the King of Ghosts


54. One of the boons allows them to travel wherever they want with a clap, although at first attempt, they land up at various parts of the world


55. The legendary Santosh Dutta as the mad king of Halla, orders everybody to be executed on a whim, and wants to attack his twin brother’s kingdom, Shundi


56. The comical old sorcerer and the shrewd prime minister decide to concoct an evil potion to render the people of Shundi mute – one can draw a comparison with stifling of public voices and criticism by the government even in today’s context



57. The song Maharaja Tomaare Selaam, a simple folk-style ode to Bengali folk, sung by Goopy at a music festival, after a long string of tedious classical performances — a commentary on the classism and casteism of the arts and what is considered as high art


58. Goopy and Bagha sing a ballad about a sad king, Ek Je Chilo Raja, causing everybody to freeze — literally, as that’s their second boon from the Ghost King — and stirring the mad king’s conscience


59. A film about the detrimental effects of war, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne ends with Goopy and Bagha making pots of Rasgulla rain from the sky, to prevent the armies, and starving soldiers, from fighting each other — and it works


60. Examining the effects of the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, Ashani Sanket has many heartbreaking sequences dealing with casteism, hunger, and abject poverty


61. Jadu, the brick kiln manager, has a disfigured face, but is in love with Chutki, and wishes to buy intimacy with rice


62. As the famine ravages, the lower caste Chutki teaches the Brahmin priest’s wife how to hunt for snails and dig wild potatoes — foods that Brahmins are not allowed to eat


63. Jadu proposes to take Chutki away to the city where he has found a job for himself. When the Brahmin priest’s wife is shocked at her decision to leave with the ugly lech, she shames Chutki and asks her why she is taking such a drastic step, to which Chutki, with tears in her eyes, responds with “To eat, didi, to eat!”


64. The stunningly visual sequence of the two villains kidnapping the wrong Mukul in Sonar Kella, shows only through their feet


65. Feluda’s introduction in the film, in which he puts on his trademark maroon kurta and tosses the beige shawl with charisma over his shoulders, and then lights a cigarette. Soumitro Chatterjee has immortalised this role for generations to come



66. The wrong Mukul narrates the story of his kidnapping – “Mistake, mistake” the kidnappers said, when they realised they have picked up the wrong kid


67. The real Mukul, who can see his past life, meets Mandar Bose in the train to Rajasthan, and is mesmerised by his magic tricks


68. Definitely one of Indian cinema’s most memorable comic sequences — Santosh Dutta as Jatayu enters Feluda and Topshe’s compartment. Santosh Dutta was such an integral part of the Feluda universe that Ray changed the character’s illustrations after Dutta was cast in the role, and refused to make another Feluda film after his demise. Other actors who have stepped into the character after Dutta have always faced vitriolic criticism and stringent comparison, always failing to outdo Dutta’s performances in Sonar Kella, and in the second Feluda film, Joy Baba Felunath



69. Feluda recognises Mandar Bose from his ring in the Kalbelia singers’ circle by the bonfire at the railway station platform


70. The famous camel sequence, set against the desert, as the trio attempt to catch the fake parapsychologist and Mukul on the train


71. The title sequence of Jana Aranya, Ray’s third film in the tumultuous Calcutta trilogy, captures the city during the Naxal periods



72. A middle-class Somnath (Pradip Mukherjee), unable to get a respectable job, has to start his own business, and is introduced to a dirty world of money, illegalities, and filth. To get a certain client’s deal, he has to satisfy him with a sex worker. As Somnath walks through brothels and agents to find the right girl for the job, his father at home, worries about his future as a poignant Tagore song, Chhaya ghonayichhey boney boney (The shadows slowly darken the forests), plays on the radio, symbolising Somnath’s pitfall


73. The stylishly shot barbershop scene with Rabi Ghosh


74. Somnath’s agent tells him that he has found the perfect girl for his client, and she turns out to be his best friend’s sister. She needs the money, and he needs the client


75. Having won the client’s deal, Somnath comes home, filled with remorse, while his father rejoices. The cobweb-like shadow of the verandah grills fall on Somnath, like he is a fly caught in a spider web, unable to escape the allure of money



76. The animated introductions of Shatranj Ke Khiladi, set to narrations by Amitabh Bachchan


77. Khurshid (Shabana Azmi) is annoyed with her husband, Mirza’s (Sanjeev Kumar) obsession with chess and creates a nuisance at home while his friend, Mir Roshan (Saeed Jaffrey) is around


78. Mir’s wife, Nafisa (Farida Jalal), tries to hide her young lover Aqueel (Farooq Sheikh)


79. Every scene with Amjad Khan as Wajid Ali Shah



80. The last scene, of Mir and Mirza, finally having buried the hatchet, sitting down for a game, as the British occupy Awadh and Wajid Ali Shah is exiled


81. Utpal Dutt is introduced as Maganlal Meghraj in Joy Baba Felunath, the second Feluda film by Ray


82. Feluda and team see Machhli Baba for the first time, accompanied by Reba Muhuri’s haunting bhajan


83. Possibly the most-shared meme before Durga Puja by Bengalis even today, Feluda comes over to the Ghoshal house to see the old idol maker still at work on the Durga idol, and so he asks “Porshu toh Shoshti, aapnar kaaj porshur modhhye shesh hoye jabe?” (The first day of the Puja is day after, will you be done by then?)



84. Feluda and team meet the bodybuilder they are sharing the room with


85. Maganlal Meghraj calls Feluda, which he quite amicably receives, while licking the fish curry off his fingers


86. The scintillating knife-throwing sequence at Maganlal’s guest room, in which Jatayu is made to stand in front of a wooden board, and Arjun, Maganlal’s aged pet circus freak, creates an outline of knives around Jatayu by throwing them from a distance



87. Feluda recognises the man posing as Machhli Baba from a tattoo on his arm and investigates his lair


88. The climax of Joy Baba Felunath is set against another wonderful Reba Muhuri bhajan, has Feluda posing as Macchli Baba, and the arrest of Maganlal – but after Feluda has drawn an outline around him with bullets


89. Made as a parody of the Emergency, Hirak Rajar Deshe, is definitely one of Ray’s top five films. Written entirely in rhyme (except for the village headmaster’s dialogues, which are in free verse to denote free thinking), the film is a musical which brings back the Goopy Bagha duo in the land of the king of diamonds, who is obsessed about making statues of himself, surrounds himself with sycophants, ignores the condition of the people of his kingdom, and stubs out any form of revolt, to the extent that he has his scientist build a Brainwashing Machine that will make people sing only his praise. Let’s take a moment to read that once more


90. Every scene with Utpal Dutt in it. Honestly. Every single one of them is a gem



91. The complete song sequence of Aha Ki Anondo, which is a string of four songs, describing four moods of nature


92. Goopy and Bagha sing to stun a tiger that guards the royal treasury with their magical musical powers, with a semi-classical masterpiece, Paaye Pori Baaghmama (I fall on your feet, Tiger Uncle)


93. A travelling minstrel is arrested and buried alive for singing a song that offends the king



94. The army is bribed with the diamonds from the royal coffers and they round up the ministers and the king and push them into the Brainwashing Machine’s chamber with the song Nohi Jontro, Aami Prani (Not a machine, I am a living being)


95. The whole kingdom arrive to topple the king’s statue with the chant “dori dhore maaro taan, raja hobe khan-khaan” (pull the ropes and break the king to pieces), and is astonished to see the king and his ministers, after being brainwashed with the same chant, joining them in razing his statue down to the ground



96. Pikoo confiding in his bedridden grandfather about the fights he has overheard his parents have, while his mother is with her boyfriend in her bedroom, in Ray’s short film, Pikoo, for a French TV channel, France3


97. In Sadgati, a heart-wrenching telefilm starring Smita Patil and Om Puri, Jhuria, a low-caste woman, comes across the dead body of her husband in shock, as a solo bird screeches incessantly


98. As Dukhiya is an untouchable and has died on Brahmin land, it creates a massive ruckus as to who will remove the body, which the priest finally does, buy looping a rope around Dukhiya’s toe and dragging his body out of the village



99. Sandip, the revolutionary, who is a childhood friend of the zamindar, Nikhilesh, enamours Nikhilesh’ wife, Bimala, with a rendition of a rousing Tagore song in Ghare Baire, based on the celebrated Tagore novel of the same name


100. In his second last film, Shakha Proshakha, two sequences are shoutouts to scenes from earlier films – Ray mounts the picnic scene from Aranyer Din Ratri again in Shakha Proshakha with the Majumdar family, with similar undercurrents of tension and deceit, and like in Pikoo, the younger grandson, unknowingly, reveals the family’s dirty secrets to his grandfather, the patriarch, whose 70th birthday they have come to celebrate.


Also Read: Satyajit Ray’s Most Popular Characters To Come Together On Screen



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