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Pather Panchali (1955)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1958 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 11,578 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 82 critic

Impoverished priest Harihar Ray (Kanu Bannerjee), dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.

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Title: Pather Panchali (1955)

Pather Panchali (1955) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kanu Bannerjee ...
Harihar Ray (as Kanu Bandyopadhyay)
Karuna Bannerjee ...
Sarbojaya Ray (as Karuna Bandopadhyay)
Chunibala Devi ...
Uma Das Gupta ...
Durga (as Uma Dasgupta)
Subir Banerjee ...
Apu (as Subir Bandopadhyay)
Runki Banerjee ...
Little Durga (as Runki Bandopadhyay)
Reba Devi ...
Seja Thakrun
Aparna Devi ...
Nilmoni's wife
Tulsi Chakraborty ...
Prasanna, school teacher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Haren Banerjee ...
Chinibas, Sweet-seller (as Haren Bandyopadhyay)
Rampada Das
Nibhanani Devi ...
Dasi Thakurun
Rama Gangopadhaya ...
Ranu Mookerjee
Roma Ganguli ...
Roma (as Rama Gangopadhyay)
Binoy Mukherjee ...
Baidyanath Majumdar (as Binoy Mukhopadhyay)
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pather Panchali: Song of the Little Road  »

Box Office

Gross:

$536,364 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(within Bengal)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the film's great success, Ray was able to obtain a grant from the West Bengal government and he was able to complete his projected trilogy at the behest of the then Prime Minister of India. See more »

Goofs

Although the film is set in early 20th Century rural India (a time in which public health campaigns presumably did not exist), when Apu and Durga are shown hiding in the fields waiting to catch a glimpse of the train, a vaccination mark is clearly visible on the right arm of Uma Das Gupta, who portrays Durga. See more »

Quotes

Durga: Listen...
Apu: What is it?
Durga: When I'm better, we'll go and look at the trains again. We'll get a good look this time.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.6 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

It's A Long Way to Tipperary
(uncredited)
Written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams
Played by the band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best
9 September 2005 | by (India) – See all my reviews

The film is certainly a masterpiece. The film is overwhelmingly real and the key element in the movie is the maintenance of this realism. The characters are so true to the ethnic rural-sixties Indian existence that one is compelled to wonder if the film was captured through surveillance cameras.

Pather Panchali, released in 1955, is the first film of director Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy. The film is a serene and beautiful depiction of a little boy's childhood in the Indian countryside in the 1950s.The film was made on a shoestring budget by a hitherto unknown director. Apart from a seventy-year-old woman who made her name in the 1930s on the stage, none of the cast had ever acted before and many had been plucked from the Indian rurality. In contrast Satyajit Ray completed the trilogy on the behest of the Indian Prime Minister, pointing to the film's cultural impact.

It's a quiet, simple tale, centering on the life of a small family living in a rural village in Bengal. The father, Harihar (Kanu Bannerjee), is a priest and poet who cares more about his writing and spiritual welfare than obtaining wages he is owed. The mother, Sarbojaya (Karuna Bannerjee), worries that her husband's financial laxity will leave her without enough food for her two children, daughter Durga (Uma Das Gupta) and son Apu (Subir Bannerjee). Harihar's family often lives on the edge of poverty, coping with the unkind taunts of their neighbors, the burden of caring for an aging aunt (Chunibala Devi), and the terrible aftermath of a natural catastrophe.

Most of what transpires is shown through the eyes of either Sarbojaya or Durga, and, as a result, we identify most closely with these two. Harihar is absent for more than half of the movie, and, before the penultimate scene, Apu is a mere witness to events, rather than a participant. Until the closing moments, we don't get a sense of the young boy as a fully formed individual, since he's always in someone else's shadow.

The simple story of the Bengali family will definitely stay in my heart for a long time to come. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?........


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