The legacy of filmmaker Satyajit Ray continues to grow even after more than 25 years since he breathed his last. In a career spanning four decades, Ray directed 28 full-length films, besides documentaries and short films. He is often considered one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of world cinema, and his work has had a profound impact on several leading directors.
Here’s what some of the top international filmmakers have said about Ray’s films over the years.
1. Akira Kurosawa
Acknowledged as one of the most important international filmmakers ever, Japanese director Akira Kurosawa had famously said, “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.” About Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955), Kurosawa said, “It is the kind of cinema that flows with the serenity and nobility of a big river. People are born, live out their lives, and then accept their deaths. Without the least effort and without any sudden jerks, Ray paints his picture, but its effect on the audience is to stir up deep passions. How does he achieve this?”
2. Richard Attenborough
The director of A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Gandhi (1982), Richard Attenborough had worked for Ray in Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977). He played General James Outram in the film, and later, was instrumental in restoring the prints of several Ray classics. About his work in Shatranj Ke Khilari, Attenborough said, “I was honoured that one of the world’s greatest directors was eager to direct me. I submitted myself totally to him and found him to be a true actor’s director. His sense of the script and details are unparalleled.”
3. Francis Ford Coppola
“Whenever someone speaks from Kolkata, I remember Satyajit Ray’s call, praising me for Godfather I,” Coppola had once said. He remembers that Ray had praised him for discovering actor Al Pacino, adding, “We know of Indian cinema through Ray’s works and to me his best is Devi, a cinematic milestone.”