Satyajit Ray Was Not an Ordinary Filmmaker, We are Ordinary: Onir

The Quint celebrates Ray’s birth centenary year with a very special series called ‘My Ray’.

2 min read

Satyajit Ray has influenced the lives of many aspiring filmmakers and film enthusiasts and continues to do so. The Quint celebrates Ray’s birth centenary year with a very special series called ‘My Ray’ – where the current generation of filmmakers share their experiences of Ray’s films and how they influenced them.

Filmmaker Onir (Anirban Dhar) reflects upon his favourite memory of his first Ray film, Charulata (1964) that served as a turning point in his life.

“When I was in Class 10, I was a student in Bhutan, and for my winter vacations I had come to Calcutta, and my sister, who was a big film buff, was studying in Lady Brabourne College took me to this film festival at the ice-skating rink in Calcutta, and there they were showing ‘Charulata,’ and I remember that was kind of a turning point for me.”
Onir, Filmmaker
A still from ‘Charulata’.
(Photo Courtesy:

He tells us how before watching Charulata, films just existed for him at a sub-conscious level. It was after watching it that he decided to become a filmmaker. Onir is known for bringing unusual themes to mainstream Bollywood. His first film My Brother... Nikhil dealt with AIDS.

Ray played several roles – writer, director, music writer, and many others – with attention to minutest of details. Onir narrates one of the scenes from Pather Panchali (1955) that deeply affected him, where the children return from watching the train go by to find their aunt dead. How Ray used silence to express the eeriness in the scene where the characters go through the trauma of death in their childhood.

Onir suggests three films other than Pather Panchali and Charulata that are a must-watch: Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980), Devi (1960), and Aranyer Din Ratri (1970).

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