Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali

Director: Satyajit Ray Cast: Runki Banerji, Kanu Banerji, Subir Banerji


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Pather Panchali, Indian director Satyajit Ray's first feature film, relates the story of an impoverished Bengalese family. When the father (Karuna Bannerjee) leaves for the city to pursue a writing career, the mother (Karuna Banerji) is left with the responsibility of caring for the rest of the brood. Gradually, the film's true central character emerges: Apu (Subir Banerji), the family's son. Though excruciatingly realistic at times, Pather Panchali takes an occasional timeout to dwell on the purely cinematic. For example, when the mother receives a postcard bearing good news, Ray dissolves to a pond, where a pair of water skates scamper about. The music by Ravi Shankar at first seems to be at odds with the action; soon, however, we come to accept the music as a logical outgrowth of the events at hand. A multiple award winner, Pather Panchali was the first of Ray's celebrated "Apu Trilogy" (the other two entries were 1956's Aparajito and 1959's The World of Apu). The film was also released as The Song of the Road and The Lament of the Path.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/13/1996
UPC: 0043396823433
Original Release: 1955
Source: Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Runki Banerji Durga as a child
Kanu Banerji Harihar the Father
Subir Banerji Apu
Karuna Bannerjee Sarbojaya Ray
Umas Das Gupta Durga as a young girl
Haren Bannerjee Actor
Chunibala Devi Indirtharkun the old aunt
Tulshi Chakraborty Prasanna, Schoolmaster
Reva Devi Mrs. Mookerji
Rama Gangopadhaya Ranu Mookerji
Harimoran Nag Doctor

Technical Credits
Satyajit Ray Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Bansi Chandragupta Art Director
Dulal Dutta Editor
Government of West Bengal Producer
Subrata Mitra Cinematographer
Ravi Shankar Score Composer
Pandit Ravi Shankar Score Composer

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Pather Panchali 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is flawless. One of the world's greatest directors, Satyajit Ray, made his debut with a film that, produced in the 50's in India, still has stunning impact. Indeed, while many, for reasons good and bad, often shy away from black and white films, not only for the lack of color, but the often dated style, whether Western or Eastern. Pather Panchali (Songs of the Road) transcends both cultural and time-based boundaries. The cinematography is seemingly simple, but loaded with depth. The panning is masterful, and Ray's eclectic mix of lush Bengali (it's NOT Bengalese!) countryside with Ravi Shankar's gorgeous musical interludes serves to truly bring out a grand variety of emotions. It is hard to imagine how Ray managed to cull, from the vast crow, so immaculate an cast. Like Hitchcock, but even more so, Ray chose men, women and children who so brilliantly capture the role that one truly forgets that this is film, and not an actual record of past events. It remains extremely true to the ethos of the traditional Bengali village. Being a Bengali, he was able to wonderfully represent the different idioms that run through the daily lives of these people, from their poverty to their religious faith that keeps them going, and the rich culture that permeates their times of joy and sorrow. If one is not familiar with Bengali or the Indian and Hindu paradigms, then one should take care to note the depth of symbolism. Just one example, to avoid length: Durga is a Hindu goddess, one of the primary forms of the Divine mother, the feminine principle of the cosmos, manifested in other such forms as Kali and Shakti. She is known as the beautiful but powerful protectress. Watch how this plays out in the daughter, Durga, and her story within the film, which is rather key. All in all, there is not one situation that is not captured in poignant depth here: joy, resignation, humiliation, shame, melancholy, elation, etc. While it certainly captures universal pathos, it subtlely and effortlessly shifts into moments of boundless fun and exhilaration. It opens up the bounty of dynamics not only within relationships, but in cultural and industrial vs. agricultural (train scene!) motifs as well. Truly, just as life in India is diverse beyond description, so is this film rich beyond its mere two hours' running time. Satyajit Ray, with his first film, truly succeeded in establishing himself as one of the world's most celebrated film artists in the director/producer role.