A water drop in the Ocean of Satyajit Ray 100

On the birth centenary month of Satyajit Ray, here’s a snippet from Wikipedia – Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali (1955), won eleven international prizes, including the inaugural Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. This film, along with Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) (1959), form The Apu Trilogy. Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. Ray received many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, 2 Silver Bears, a number of additional awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. The Government of India honoured him with the Bharat Ratna, its highest civilian award, in 1992. Ray had received many noticeable awards and gained a prestigious position over his lifetime.

Photo by Faisal Rahman on Pexels.com

Have you seen Satyajit Ray’s Feluda films? Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath. If you haven’t, watch them today and read this post only after watching the second film, Joy Baba Felunath because what I’ll write further contains major spoilers. I would remind you not to read further if you haven’t seen Joy Baba Felunath because it’s a detective masterpiece like it’s predecessor Sonar Kella and reading further will only take away the interest of watching.

Still, if you’re not planning to watch the movie anytime soon, check out the plot of Joy Baba Felunath from Wikipedia as it will help to grasp the context of lines to follow.

As the plot suggests, a grandfather entrusts a golden Ganesh murti to his grandson which gets stolen and Feluda is tasked with finding the thief. In the end, Feluda not only catches the thief but also points out to the grandfather that the real murti made of gold is kept in his bank locker and he had just given a fake decoy to his grandson to play with and also to test Feluda’s merit. But it was important to catch the thief!

What do you infer from this?

Well, here’s my takeā€¦

The movie was released in 1979. During that time many salaried/working people in Bengal from the middle/low income class kept all their life savings in shinduk (a box/chest) at home rather than in banks. Banks were not very popular among the common man and was mostly used for business, industry and commerce. I too have seen my grandfather keeping all his life savings locked at home; which of course increases the chances of a great loss in case of theft. It was only in the late 1980s when my grandfather retired that he finally kept all his pension and life savings in the bank.

But we know the importance of how bank savings affect investments in modern times. Therefore, I believe that through the film, Satyajit Ray also tried to portray the importance of banks almost four decades ago in order to encourage people to keep their valuable stuff in bank lockers. Satyajit Ray was a genius but it takes an equally genius audience to realise these small gestures in his films. This is just one out of the countless examples/hints that the maestro has periodically portrayed through his works. Such was the quality of detective films inspired from his books!

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