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Commemorating the Master Flicks of an avid Indian Bengali Filmmaker, Satyajit Ray

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Portrait of Satyajit Ray, Wikimedia

May 07, 2017: Honouring the legendary and the greatest filmmaker Satyajit Ray on the auspicious occasion of his birthday, Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa aptly said, “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.”

Over his 35-year-long career as a filmmaker, he directed over 30 films., including projects of myriads variety, ranging from fantasy, science fiction, detective films, historical dramas to feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Besides being a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, music composer, graphic designer, he was also the greatest film critic. He has authored several short stories and novels, primarily aimed at children and adolescents.

Here are some of the films of Satyajit Ray which were way ahead of their time and are often listed among the greatest films of all times

  • Pathar Panchali

Satyajit’s debut film “Pather Panchali” is a tale of joys and sorrows of a poor Indian family in Bengal, and is a heartwarming indication that poverty does not always nullify love. The film has won eleven international prizes. This film, along with “Aparajita” and “Apur Sansar” from famous “The Apu Trilogy” are also listed among the greatest movies of all time in the history of Indian cinema. Describing the growing up of a young boy Apu (Apurba Kumar Roy) through the technique of Buildungsroman, the film narrated the childhood, education and early maturity of a young boy in the early part of the 20th century.

Satyajit Ray with Ravi Sankar recording for Pather Panchali, Wikimedia

Pioneering the Parallel Cinema movement, “Pathar Panchali” is described as the ‘turning point in Indian Cinema’. The film is said to embrace social realism and authenticity. Through his debut film, Satyajit Ray became the architect of a genre of films “Indian Parallel Cinema”. These films aimed at concerning less with offering spectacle and glamour and touched social and political subjects. Moreover, The films were usually produced on a shoestring budget without depending on stardom for success.

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  • Aparajita

The film starts off where the previous film Pather Panchali ended, with protagonist Apu’s family moving to Varanasi depicting Apu’s stepping into adolescence in college and leaving his childhood, right up to his mother’s death, when he is left all alone.

  • Apur Sansar

Being the third part of The Apu Trilogy, the film is about the childhood and early adulthood of Apu that focuses on the world of the young man. Apu’s tragic life as a teenager and an adult perfectly reflects the cruel, realistic realities, and is sure to leave you in tears.

  • Days and Nights in the Forest

As a tribute to Renoir’s classic Partie de campagne, “Days and Nights in the Forest” is all about transplanting the scene from pastoral France to the forests of north-eastern India.

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  • Goopy Bagha Trilogy

Children took immense pleasure in watching Ray’s film series which includes “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne”, “Hirok Rajar Deshe” and “Goopy Bagha Firey Elo”.

It is interesting to note that the first two films of the ‘Goopy Bagha Trilogy’, “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” and “Hirak Rajar Deshe” were directed by Satyajit Ray, and the third film “Goopy Bagha Phire Elo” was directed by his son. The first movie was keenly made for entertaining kids while the second part “Hirok Rajar Deshe”, reflected the reign of Indira Gandhi in India and the emergency period. While a child would have enjoyed the story of a ruthless king being dethroned, an adult watching the film would have intimated with the deeper meaning of the film.

  • Teen Kanya

“Teen Kanya” was originally written by Rabindranath Tagore and later adapted by Satyajit Ray into a film. Teen Kanya narrated the tale of three different women during the three different stages of their lives.

  • Charulata

“Charulata” was another written work of Rabindranath Tagore that narrates the tale of a lonely wife who develops a deeply regrettable bond with her brother-in-law. The film is meditative poetry, lingering over the inner turmoil endured by all the characters.

  • Nayak

Starring Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore, the first major film in the post Charulata period “Nayak” narrates the twenty-four hours of the journey, during which the film explores the inner conflict of the apparently highly successful matinée idol.

  • The Music Room

Ray represented on the world stage the magisterial drama about an ageing Bengali landowner and his fatality clinging to the past. Ray brings Roy’s perfumed world to life with glittering images of fireworks, gleaming chandeliers and the cavernous extravagance of his music room, where he invites sitarists and dancers to entertain him and his guests.

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  • The Big City

Ray was found railing against the ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ mentality, making a sassy, nuanced and deeply moving film about the gathering speed of modernity and feminism in his home city of Calcutta. Protagonist Arati, who has never stepped out of the four walls of her house suddenly takes to the world of work to support her large and extended family.

  • Kanchenjungha

“Kanchenjungha” was his first film in colour which tells its audience of an upper-class family spending an afternoon in Darjeeling, a picturesque hill town in West Bengal.

Being a skilled calligrapher, Satyajit Ray had designed four typefaces for the Roman script – Ray Roman, Ray Bizarre, Daphnis, and Holiday Script, in addition to several others for the Bengali script. Out of which Ray Roman and Ray Bizarre had bagged an international prize.

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Ray was honoured with many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Bear, a Golden Lion, and various International awards. In 1992, Ray was awarded the Bharat Ratna by the Government of India. He was also awarded an honorary degree by Oxford University.

Ray is the first and the only Indian to receive an Honorary Academy Award by the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Calling it the “Best achievement of movie-making career”, he accepted the award in a severely ill condition and left for heavenly abode at the age of 71 on 23 April 1992.

prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram. Twitter handle- @Himanshi1104

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)

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India sends Emergency Fuel Supplies to Sri Lanka

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena's request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

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emergency fuel supplies
India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka, confirmed PMO onTwitter (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 9, 2017 : Following reports of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) rejecting a shipment of petrol from Lanka IOC (LIOC), the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian Oil, India on Wednesday made emergency fuel supplies to Sri Lanka following a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

“In the telephone conversation with Sri Lankan President @MaithripalaS, PM @narendramodi conveyed that India is sending additional fuel to Sri Lanka and assured India’s continued support for development cooperation,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.

According to Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan, Modi assured all assistance from India to Sri Lanka following Siriena’s request for emergency fuel supplies and petrol shipments.

LIOC has made available 3,500 kilo litres of its own stock to CPC, Doordarshan said in a shared tweet.

A ship with an additional 21,000 kilo litres of petrol also left for Sri Lanka and additional petrol is being made available from Kochi refinery in Kerala.

Citing CPC sources, the Sunday Times said an emergency fuel supplies’ shipment that arrived at the Colombo harbour on October 17 had been tested for a second time and rejected on a quality test.

However, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he did not agree that LIOC was responsible for the current fuel shortage in the country and said two oil shipments would be arriving in the country within two day, acording to a report in the Colombo Page.

“Apart from petrol shipment arriving on November 8, another shipment is due from India on November 9, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe informed the parliament on Tuesday responding to a question raised in the parliament regarding the fuel crisis,” the statement said.

It said that Wikremesinghe said a discussion was held with the Indian High Commissioner in this regard and the Indian ship would arrive either November 9 or 10. (IANS)

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Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

Indian Rape survivors still face barriers in justice and humiliation with two-finger tests, reported the Human Rights Watch

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Rape Survivors
Rape survivors face humiliation during investigation. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.

The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.

“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.

“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.

“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.

The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.

The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

Rape survivors
Rape survivors feel harassed at police stations and hospitals. Pixabay.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.

“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.

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It said that lack of witness protection law in India makes rape survivors and witnesses vulnerable to pressure that undermines prosecutions.

The human rights body said that some defence lawyers and judges still use language in courtrooms that is “biased and derogatory” toward sexual assault survivors.

“The attempt at shaming the victim is still very much prevalent in the courts,” Rebecca Mammen John, a senior criminal lawyer in Delhi, was quoted in the statement. (IANS)