Satyajit Ray Biography

Satyajit Ray, the renowned Indian filmmaker, is fondly remembered as Bengal’s Renaissance man. Coming from a distinguished family of artists, litterateurs, and musicians, Ray showed signs of making it big in the world of entertainment from a young age. With a passion for films, chess, and western classical music, he excelled at art and soon took it up professionally. Ray directed more than 36 films in his life, including feature films, documentaries, and shorts, starting with the widely acknowledged ‘Pather Panchali’. His craftsmanship, mastery of detail, and storytelling technique are admired worldwide. Apart from films, Ray also worked as a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, graphic designer, and film critic. He designed numerous book jackets and magazine covers. To learn more about his life and profile, continue reading.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In May Died At Age: 70
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Bijoya Das
    • Father: Sukumar Ray
    • Mother: Suprabha Ray
    • Children: Sandip Ray
    • Born Country: India
  • Quotes By Satyajit Ray
  • Directors
  • Died on: April 23, 1992
  • Place of death: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  • City: Kolkata, India
  • Awards:
    • Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1985)
    • Legion of Honor by the President of France (1987)
    • Bharat Ratna (1992)
    • Honorary Oscar (1992)

Childhood & Early Life

Satyajit Ray was born on May 2, 1921 in Calcutta, into an affluent Bengali family with a rich heritage in art and literature. He was the only son of Sukumar and Suprabha Ray. Ray completed his formal education from Ballygunge Government High School and then enrolled at the Presidency College, Calcutta to complete his BA in Economics. After much insistence from his mother, he reluctantly attended the Visva-Bharti University at Santiniketan, where he discovered his love for Indian art.


Ray’s first job was as a junior visualizer at a British-run advertising agency. He also worked at the Signet Press, creating cover designs for books. It was during this time that he worked on the children’s novel, Pather Panchali, which later became the subject of his first film. In 1947, he co-founded the Calcutta Film Society, which screened foreign films that inspired his career as a filmmaker and writer. Ray realized his passion for filmmaking while working in London, where he watched several movies that inspired him. He returned to India and started working on his dream of making a film out of Pather Panchali. After three years of hard work, he released the film in 1955, which was well-received by critics and audiences.

Major Works

Ray’s debut movie, Pather Panchali, won eleven international prizes and established his career as a filmmaker. It was followed by the release of Aparajito and Apur Sansar, completing a trilogy. His film Charulata, released in 1964, received wide critical recognition and is considered a magnum opus of his career.

Awards & Achievements

Throughout his life, Ray received 32 National Film Awards and numerous international honors, including the Golden Lion, Silver Bear, and Golden Bear. He was the second film personality after Chaplin to receive an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. In 1992, he received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, and an Honorary Oscar Lifetime Achievement Award.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1949, Ray married Bijoya Das, and they had a son named Sandip, who also became a filmmaker. Ray suffered from heart complications and other health issues, which worsened over time. He passed away on April 23, 1992. Ray’s legacy is widespread in India, and he has institutions named after him, such as the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute. The London Film Festival also adopted the Satyajit Ray Award in his honor.


Ray was ranked as the 25th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. He was a member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1961. Ray was a fan of Tintin comics and incorporated some of its shots in his books and movies. He was the second Indian to receive an Academy Award.

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