HomeEntertainmentUnveiling the Masterpieces: Must-Watch Films by Satyajit Ray Beyond the Apu Trilogy

Unveiling the Masterpieces: Must-Watch Films by Satyajit Ray Beyond the Apu Trilogy

The renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray is regarded as a trailblazer in the history of Indian cinema. Although “Pather Panchali”(1955), “Aparajito” (1956), and “Apur Sansar” (1959), which make up his legendary Apu Trilogy, are his best-known works, Ray’s cinematic genius goes well beyond these ground-breaking pictures. In this article, we set out on a fascinating journey to investigate some of Ray’s must-watch creations that demonstrate his exceptional storytelling skills, directorial skill, and perceptive depiction of human emotions.

Beyond the realms of Apu’s transformative tale, Ray’s filmography is adorned with cinematic gems that continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

Ghare-Baire (1984)

Satyajit Ray
Film industry. Filming with professional camera background

One such masterpiece is “Ghare-Baire” (1984), also known as “The Home and the World,” is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel of the same name. The early 20th century Indian independence struggle serves as the backdrop for the film, which examines the complicated relationships between its three central figures, Bimala, Nikhilesh, her husband, and her charismatic and politically engaged companion Sandip. In a time of social and political unrest, Ray deftly combines interpersonal relationships and political ideas, showing the struggles and difficulties encountered by individuals. “Ghare-Baire” examines nationalism, individual freedom, and the nuances of love and loyalty in a subtle manner. For anyone interested in investigating the nexus of the personal and political spheres, Ray’s skillful direction, strong performances, and the movie‘s eternal significance make it a must-watch.

On number two, we are absolutely split between Mahanagar, Devi and Charulata as there are three faces of womanhood in Ray’s cinema apart from Teen Kanya, of course.

Charulata (1964)

Charulata is at once a technological and cultural marvel of Satyajit Ray. Many people consider Ray’s “Charulata,” also known as “The Lonely Wife,” to be one of his best works. The story of Charulata, a lonely and academically gifted lady caught in a loveless marriage, is told in this Bengali historical drama that is set in the 19th century. The protagonist’s emotional journey and desire for love and companionship are masterfully captured by Ray. Cinephiles must see the movie because of its stunning photography, nuanced performances, and Ray’s deft investigation of intricate human relationships.

Mahanagar ( 1963)


Mahanagar,” also known as “The Big City,” is another remarkable film by Satyajit Ray that deserves recognition beyond the Apu Trilogy. This informative drama digs into Arati’s life as a middle-class housewife in 1950s Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). “Mahanagar” depicts the struggles and goals of Arati as she chooses to reject gender stereotypes and look for work against the backdrop of a society in transition. The movie highlights the difficulties women in conservative homes confront as well as the social norms that keep them confined to domestic settings.

Devi (1960)

Clay face of Goddess Durga
Clay face of Goddess Durga

The thought-provoking movie “Devi,” which means “Goddess,” examines the strength of blind faith and its effects. Doyamoyee, a young woman who is regarded as a goddess by her father-in-law and the townspeople, is the main character of the tale. Doyamoyee’s mental wellbeing declines as her father-in-law’s ideas become more extreme. The risks of religious fanaticism and the oppression of women inside patriarchal organizations are skillfully criticized by Ray. The moving and socially significant movie “Devi” demonstrates Ray’s talent for tackling difficult subjects with nuance and depth.

Two Goopy-Bagha films

On number three, and this is a bit of a cop out because here here we’re going for two films instead of one – the two Goopy-Bagha films, which interweave folklore, fantasy, power and politics, reflecting fact in fiction. The Goopy-Bagha films, consisting of “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” (1969) and its sequel “Hirak Rajar Deshe” (1980), are whimsical and enchanting adventures that showcase Satyajit Ray’s versatility as a filmmaker beyond his realistic dramas. These films, based on a series of children’s stories by Ray’s grandfather, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, offer a delightful departure from his more serious works.

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969)

Black Director chair and Clapper board or movie slate
Black Director chair and Clapper board or movie slate

The film “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” introduces us to Goopy, a struggling musician with miraculous skill, and Bagha, a drummer with comparable talent. The pair, who were once despised by society, are bestowed with the power to hypnotize listeners by the King of Ghosts. The plot follows their adventure as they use their newly discovered abilities to spread joy and transform their surroundings.

Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980)

In the sequel, “Hirak Rajar Deshe,” Goopy and Bagha find themselves in a kingdom ruled by a tyrant king who suppresses freedom of speech and thought. The film serves as a witty allegory for authoritarian regimes and the importance of intellectual freedom. Ray cleverly weaves these themes into a story that is accessible to both children and adults, emphasizing the power of knowledge and the spirit of resistance.

Aranyer Din Ratri (1970)

Cozy autumn picnic in the park. Festive setting table decorated wildflowers in vase, candles, food
Cozy autumn picnic in the park. Festive setting table decorated wildflowers in vase, candles, food

On number four, is Aranyer Din Ratri, a film about four friends and their trip to the forest near Palamau. As they embark on their journey, each character brings their own desires, aspirations, and insecurities, creating a dynamic interplay of personalities. It reads through layers of individuality and society with razor sharp precision. The movie offers a subtle examination of gender dynamics, society norms, and the search for happiness. The companions’ preconceptions and prejudices are tested when they engage with the local tribal people and other tourists, which causes them to think for themselves and evolve as individuals.

Nayak (1966)

Noir film character smoking a cigarette
Noir film character smoking a cigarette

On number five is, Nayak – Ray’s metacinematic take on the nature of stardom, how conflicted and poignant it is and how people exist in the distance between their public image and their heart. The intriguing character study “Nayak,” which translates to “The Hero,” looks at the life of a movie star. The movie follows successful actor Arindam Mukherjee as he encounters a journalist on a train. Ray explores Arindam’s past, his concerns, and the responsibilities of celebrity via their dialogues. The introspective film “Nayak” explores identity, celebrity, and the search for happiness. This movie is a must-see for both movie buffs and fans of character-driven stories because of Ray’s sharp portrayal of the main character and his smart management of the storyline.

Feluda Series

Film noir detective desktop with revolver
Film noir detective desktop with revolver

Satyajit Ray’s Feluda films are a series of detective movies based on the popular Bengali literary character, Pradosh Chandra Mitter, aka Feluda. Created by Ray’s own pen, Feluda is a charismatic and intelligent private investigator who, along with his cousin Topshe and the comical Lalmohan Ganguly (Jatayu), embarks on thrilling adventures filled with mystery, suspense, and wit.

Sonar Kella (1974)

Panorama of Jaisalmer Fort known as the Golden Fort Sonar quila,
Panorama of Jaisalmer Fort known as the Golden Fort Sonar quila,

The series began with “Sonar Kella” (1974). The protagonist of the tale is a small child named Mukul who claims to know the location of a secret golden stronghold called Sonar Kella and recollections of a previous existence. In order to look into the boy’s claims and safeguard him from harm, Mukul’s father employs Feluda, played by Soumitra Chatterjee. Feluda travels with his cousin Topshe, played by Siddhartha Chatterjee, as they traverse the colorful landscapes of Rajasthan. They run across a colorful variety of people along the road, including Utpal Dutt’s sly crook Maganlal Meghraj. “Sonar Kella” stands out not only for its captivating plot, but also for its rich visual aesthetic. Ray expertly captures the beauty of Rajasthan, showcasing its majestic forts, sandy deserts and vibrant culture. The film’s cinematography and art direction are a visual feast, immersing audiences in the grandeur and mystery of the setting.

Joi Baba Felunath (1979)

Rustic house in Varanasi, India
Rustic house in Varanasi, India

Following the success of “Sonar Kella,” Ray directed “Joi Baba Felunath”. The plot centers on a priceless figurine of Lord Ganesha that was taken from the residence of a successful businessman. Soumitra Chatterjee’s Feluda, who is recruited to look into the theft and recover the artifact, does so with grace and skill. As Feluda investigates the matter further, he unearths an intricate web of deceit, greed, and conspiracy. “Joi Baba Felunath” is a showcase for Ray’s skill as a director because of how well he masterfully creates tension and suspense throughout the movie. The story keeps the audience wondering right up to the very end by taking them on a wild voyage of hints and discoveries. An engaging and immersive experience is produced by Ray’s attention to detail and ability to capture the soul of the original story.

Jalsaghar (1958)

Jalsaghar” is a timeless masterpiece directed by Satyajit Ray that explores themes of decadence, tradition and the passage of time. Set in 19th-century Bengal, the film paints a poignant portrait of a fallen aristocrat clinging to the vestiges of his glorious past. The protagonist of the story is Chhabi Biswas’ outstanding performance as affluent landowner and music lover Biswambhar Roy. Biswambhar Roy develops an obsession with holding grandiose music soirees, or jalsaghar, in his dilapidated home as the world around him changes and his financial situation worsens. He chooses to indulge in the recollections of his former opulence rather than consider the financial repercussions or his family’s pleadings. “Jalsaghar” is a cinematic tour de force, with Ray’s directorial finesse evident in every frame. The film unfolds at a leisurely pace, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in the rich and detailed depiction of the decaying mansion and the aristocratic lifestyle. Ray’s attention to detail and his ability to capture the nuances of human behavior are showcased throughout the film, creating a poignant and atmospheric experience.

Agantuk (1991)

It's a movie night
It’s a movie night

Ray’s final movie, “Agantuk,” which translates to “The Stranger,” is a fitting monument to his skill as a storyteller. The protagonist of the movie is a man by the name of Manomohan Mitra, who declares to be a long-lost uncle returning from another continent. Ray explores issues of identity, human nature, and the conflict between consumerism and spirituality as the family members struggle with doubts and suspicions. The philosophical work “Agantuk” examines trust, the intrinsic goodness of people, and the intricacy of interpersonal interactions. For those looking to gain a better understanding of human nature, Ray’s reflective style and the film’s provocative plot make it an engaging viewing.

In conclusion, Satyajit Ray made other contributions to Indian cinema in addition to the Apu Trilogy. His filmography is a veritable gold mine of classics that explore all facets of the human experience by addressing social issues, inner tensions, and the difficulties of interpersonal relationships. The aesthetic genius and timeless significance of Ray’s films, which range from the emotional profundity of “Charulata” to the sociopolitical critique of “Ghare-Baire,” continue to enthral viewers. Beyond the Apu Trilogy, exploring seven other must-see films enables us to completely comprehend the scope and depth of Ray’s cinematic brilliance, firmly establishing him as one of the all-time great directors.

Triparna Dutta
Triparna Dutta
"The caffeinated traveller, who won't stop dreaming, always on the lookout for new adventures. Storytelling maximalist. Storyteller lost in the folds of History, Mountains and the lanes of Calcutta. Join me on a journey through the pages of imagination, where coffee-fuelled dreams come to life and the world is yours for the taking."


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular