As most of the movie geek,who starts watching more international films,tends to forget the roots or the movies that was made in and around he lives. I ain’t no exception. But through out my movie watching experience, directors across the globe quote Sathyajit Ray’s movies for its artistic brilliance, who without doubts a pioneer in Indian Cinema. Especially,the way he maintained his skills by letting the audience unravel the essence of his movies through visually rather than conversations. Here with,I would start writing series of posts named ‘World Of Sathyajith Ray’,about his movies.
The movies pans out to a lady doing her morning rituals peacefully, hears a noise some where and starts yelling at a child in the distance,as the child takes away some fruits from her garden.The child then happily wanders back to her house,and gives one of the fruit she took to a granny that lives near by her house. The child is Durga. This opening scene numbed me with the artistic brilliance (kudos to the cinematographer) and it makes you wonder even more that it was Ray’s first movie.The movie is the first installment of the ‘Apu Trilogy’,but i see this movie through the eyes of Durga.
Durga is dusky and beautiful,typical country girl and sometimes ends up getting beaten from her mother for her playful activities,mainly because of the abuses regarding Durga’s upbringing from the neighbors. Her father Hari, is a pujari (priest) and doesn’t get properly paid for his wages,which annoys her mother Sarbajaya big time as she struggles to run the family. An old lady (remains anonymous about her relation with the family throughout.) seem to lead a solitary life and she finds closeness with Durga,as she treats her with love and affection. Sarbajaya ends up fighting with the old lady (not considering her age) as she takes things from the house and asks her to walk away from the house. Durga also has a little brother,Appu.
Every sensible cinema just merely reflects the characters,let them evolve and does not take any judgment about their situations. Here,the family is severely suffering from poverty,but the kids seems happily living their lives and the parents make sure the kids don’t suffer and dreams of resurrecting their lives.
Movie’s two greatest moments, is when the neighbor complaints about a missing necklace to Sarbajaya claiming Durga would have stolen it. When Durga rushes to house,her mother assault her brutally and investigates about the necklace,though she finds nothing.(At the end, Apu finds it as they leave the home after Durga’s death).But,she is thrown out of the house.Mean time Apu,silently watching these events peeping around a corner, then rushes to wash his mouth first and pretends to be studying (afraid of getting beaten by his mother).. Bravo..!!
In an another episode, Durga quarrels with Apu for taking her things. Mother interrupts them and asks Durga to move away. Realizing her faults,Sarbajaya asks Apu to look for Durga. Apu runs along and finds her sister,and both of them running along a paddy field hears the sound of train nearing by which they dreamt of seeing one day. With utmost ecstasy, Apu and Durga rushes to get the glimpse of train passing by. Wohaaaa…!!! The scene stands alone as a short story of its own. On the flip side,matured Durga (though small in age) her conversation with her friends,her close friend’s marriage,weeping about her family situation to arrange for her marriage.
Durga is just so complete with varied faces of her emotions. The point of view or the protagonist in most parts was Durga,and an unexpected turn of effects shifts to Apu.(Durga dies due to fever).The most emotional part of the movie though conveyed subtle is that Apu gets ready for his school all alone,as her sister is not around to look after her. The point of view or the story teller shift to Apu from Durga through this scene.
No wonder Akira Kurosawa described the movie as below,
I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it (Pather Panchali). It is the kind of cinema that flows with the serenity and nobility of a big river.
P.S.: Interpret the quote of Kurosawa’s to the movie’s pace,as it flows gently right from the start till the end. So, don’t expect any jarring twists or turns.