When Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorsese praised the cinematic genius for Apu trilogy

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Today marks the 100th birth anniversary of filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who was considered to be one of the most influential directors not only in India but across the globe. While we saw many celebs writing about this genius on social media, we revisit to the moment when popular Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorsese gushed about the late director. The Departed maker paid a tribute to Satyajit Ray through a letter, which he wrote for Indian Express in the last year. Also Read – Representation of Apu on The Simpsons sparks a big debate on Twitter after a controversial episode

The director wrote, “In the relatively short history of cinema, Satyajit Ray is one of the names that we all need to know, whose films we all need to see. And to revisit, as I do pretty frequently. For those of us here in the West, the Apu trilogy — Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959) — was a milestone. We were used to seeing India on screen but through a purely colonial perspective, which obviously meant that the principal characters were Westerners and the “extras”, the people who provided the local colour and the background detail, were Indians. We had no idea whether the stories were happening in Gujarat, Kashmir, West Bengal or Maharashtra — it was just “India”.”

He added, “The pictures told stories of everyday life in a vein that was somewhat similar to Italian neo-realism. And the artistry? The filmmaking? It took my breath away. It was poetic, immediate, sweeping and intimate, all at the same time. I was mesmerised. That remarkable close-up of Apu’s eye in Pather Panchali, the way the cut works with the sudden burst of Ravi Shankar’s music — for me, that was one of those precious revelatory moments you have in a movie theatre, and it had a profound and lasting effect on me as a filmmaker. And the trilogy was only the beginning of one of the greatest bodies of work in the history of cinema.”

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