Realism in Pather Pachali

The Bengali feature film, “Pather Pachali” was directed by Satyajit Ray and was released in 1955. It was considered a landmark in the field of Indian as well as world cinema. Although it was director Ray’s debut effort, it went on to win critical and popular acclaim from all around the world. The path breaking movie was also instrumental in winning the ” Best Human Document ” award at the Cannes Film Festival of 1956.

Pather Pachali us considered to be neo- realist in its implications. The main reason for describing the movie as non-realist was the fact that it was filmed not long after the second world war when neo- realism held sway in most of Europe.

“Pather Panchali will leave many images in the mind’s ye and many impressions of another way of life.” – Helen Bower

“A moment where Apu and Durga walk through long grass and the boy catches his first glimpse of a train crossing the landscape defines Ray’s genius for composition and his gift for metaphor.” – Desmond Ryan

Ray chose mostly natural locations while shooting Pather Pachali. He wanted the backdrop of each shot to speak for itself. Also, he totally refrained from the artificially exaggerated practices and gestures of the popular cinema prevailing in India.

The movie is said to have amply demonstrated some affiliations with the traditions narration, representation as well as musical address prevailing in earlier times in an effort to articulate in an Indian identity of the day following independence.

Pather Pachali possessed all the essential characteristics of neo- realism. In fact, Ray was virtually unable to keep the subjective element out of his movie. But he never made comments on his actions, characters or situations. He never pitches hints at his audience and never tells them just what to think and feel.

At the same time he was not at all apprehensive about taking the appropriates not to his characters but to the drama of life itself. This is because he was predisposed not to his characters but to the drama or life itself. He had his own ways to suffuse life on to the screen in order to impart a shimmer of to all his characters.

Satyajit Ray showed the basic essentials or the happiness of the rural lives as compared to the urban lives. In urban lives we are happy with our level of happiness but in the film it is shown that the rural people were happy from little things. Their level of happiness was lower from that of the urban life but still they were happy with that.

Apu and Durga’s father was a priest so for them it was a respectful and a standard job. The main significance of the train is a very important thing throughout the movie. For the urban people train was just a common thing but for the rural people it was like a special thing. The shot of the train scene was only of 25 seconds but there were no dialogues in that scene. Here, Apu and Durga’s expressions showed the happiness on seeing the train for the first time.

The concept of train was totally unknown to them. So, when they saw the train for the first time they were surprised. Also, Apu and Durga’s mother, Sarbojoya, her human side is shown in the film. Sarbojoya’s sister-in-law used to misbehave with her due to poverty which showed the actual human aspect.

When Apu and Durga’s father returns from the city to village, the death of Durga is shown in a realistic way. There was no background music in the scene, there was no sadistic thing. The death showed the numbness which actually happens in reality where people become numb she their loved ones die.

Also, it was shown that Durga loved her aunt and so she used to steal fruits for her aunty . So this showed the bond or relationship between an old member with the younger members of the family. In real life, where we have the relationship between us and our grandparents, in the film the same things is shown through Durga and his aunt.

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