The Apu Trilogy

Date : 19th August 2018

Venue : IISc, CV Raman Rd, Bengaluru

The Apu Trilogy comprises three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959). They are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time and are often cited as the greatest movies in the history of Indian cinema. The original music for the films was composed by Ravi Shankar.

They are based on two Bengali novels written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay: Pather Panchali (1929) and Aparajito (1932). The three films went on to win many national and international awards, including three National Film Awards and seven awards from the Cannes, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals. Produced on a shoestring budget using an amateur cast and crew, the trilogy is a milestone in Indian cinema and remains one of the most acclaimed works in the Parallel Cinema movement.

MOVIES

Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

/ Directed by Satyajit Ray / Bengali, India / 126 mins / 1955

The story of a young boy, Apu, and life in his small Indian village. His parents are quite poor - his father Harihar, a writer and poet, gave away the family's fruit orchard to settle his brother's debts. His sister Durga and an old aunt also still lives with them. His mother Sarbojaya bears the brunt of the family's situation. She scrapes by and sells her personal possessions to put food on the table and has to bear the taunts of her neighbors as Durga is always stealing fruit from their orchard. Things get worse when Harihar disappears for five months and Durga falls ill. Even after Harihar returns, the family is left with few alternatives.

Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

/ Directed by Satyajit Ray / Bengali, India / 117 mins / 1957

In 1920, in Benares, the ten-year old boy Apu lives happily with his mother and his father. When his father dies, Apu and his mother move to a village with her uncle. Soon Apu asks his mother to study in the local school where he becomes a distinguished student. When Apu is a teenager, the headmaster offers a scholarship to him to study in Calcutta and her mother gives her savings to him to support his new life. Apu works at a printing press at night to support himself in Calcutta while his mother misses him. But soon he neglects his mother and the college. When he learns that his mother is sick, he returns to the village where she is to visit her, but it may be too late.

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

/ Directed by Satyajit Ray / Bengali, India / 127 mins / 1959

Apu is a jobless former student dreaming vaguely of a future as a writer. An old college friend talks him into a visit up-country to a village wedding. This changes his life, for when the bridegroom turns out to be mad, Apu's friend asks him to become the husband. After initial revulsion at the idea, Apu agrees. Apu takes his exquisite bride, Aparna, back to Calcutta. But Aparna dies while giving birth, Apu leaves Calcutta, crazy with grief, and his son Kajal is left abandoned with his wife's parents. Only after a long period of total indifference to worldly responsibilities, does Apu become capable of returning to the world.

AWARDS

National awards

President's Medals

  • Winner – 1955 – President's Gold & Silver Medals (New Delhi) – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1959 – President's Gold Medal (New Delhi) – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

National Film Awards

  • Winner – 1956 – Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1956 – Best Feature Film in Bengali – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1960 – Best Film – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

International Film Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

  • Winner – 1956 – Best Human Document – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1956 – OCIC Award (Special Mention) – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Nominated – 1956 – Golden Palm for Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

Venice Film Festival

  • Winner – 1957 – Golden Lion of St. Mark for Best Film – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Winner – 1957 – Cinema Nuovo Award – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Winner – 1957 – Critics Award – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

Berlin International Film Festival

  • Winner – 1957 – Selznick Golden Laurel for Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1960 – Selznick Golden Laurel for Best Film – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

British Film Institute Awards, London Film Festival

  • Winner – 1957 – FIPRESCI Award – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Winner – 1960 – Sutherland Trophy for Best Original And Imaginative Film – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)
  • Winner – 1980 – Wington Award – Apu Trilogy (for each film)

Edinburgh International Film Festival

  • Winner – 1956 – Diploma of Merit – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1960 – Diploma of Merit – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

San Francisco International Film Festival

  • Winner – 1957 – Golden Gate for Best Picture – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1957 – Golden Gate for Best Director – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) – Satyajit Ray
  • Winner – 1958 – Golden Gate for Best Picture – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Winner – 1958 – Golden Gate for Best Director – Aparajito (The Unvanquished) – Satyajit Ray
  • Winner – 1958 – International Critics' Award – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

Vancouver International Film Festival

  • Winner – 1958 – Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

New York Film Festival

  • Winner – 1959 – Best Foreign Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

Stratford Film Festival

  • Winner – 1958 – Critics' Award for Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

Other International Awards

National Board of Review Awards (United States)

  • Winner – 1958 – Best Foreign Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1960 – Best Foreign Film – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

Kinema Junpo Awards (Tokyo)

  • Winner – 1967 – Best Foreign Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

Bodil Awards (Denmark)

  • Winner – 1967 – Best Non-European Film – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Winner – 1969 – Best Non-European Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

British Academy Film Awards (United Kingdom)

  • Nominated – 1958 – BAFTA Award for Best Film – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Nominated – 1959 – BAFTA Award for Best Film – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
  • Nominated – 1959 – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress – Aparajito (The Unvanquished) – Karuna Banerjee
  • Nominated – 1962 – BAFTA Award for Best Film – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

Other awards

  • Winner – 1956 Golden Carbao (Manila) – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1956 Vatican Award (Rome) – Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)
  • Winner – 1958–1959 Golden Laurel for Best Foreign Film (United States) – Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

Cast and Crew