13 best Satyajit Ray movies that redefined Indian cinema

Satyajit Ray is one of the most celebrated Indian filmmakers on the global stage. Ray made some of those films which are now considered the pioneers of Indian cinema. Here's a look at some of them.

Updated on Apr 16, 2024  |  07:42 PM IST |  55.5K
Satyajit Ray Best Movies (Instagram/s.ray.fans)
Satyajit Ray Best Movies (Instagram/s.ray.fans)

Some of the best movies of Satyajit Ray continue to stand as pillars of cinematic excellence that the world has celebrated for years. From his debut film Pather Panchali to his final masterpiece Agantuk, Ray's works have won awards and praises alike. Let's look at some of Satyajit Ray's best movies that shaped a fresh narrative for storytellers in showbiz.

13 best satyajit ray’s films to watch at least once:-

1. Pather Panchali

   - Cast: Subir Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee

   - Where to watch: Plex, Amazon Prime

Ray's debut film Pather Panchali showcased rural life in Bengal. It followed the struggles of the poor Roy family and remains a cornerstone of Indian cinema. This movie won Ray his first BAFTA Award for Best Film.

2. Aparajito

   - Cast: Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee, Smaran Ghosal

   - Where to watch: Plex, Amazon Prime

The second installment of the Apu Trilogy, Aparajito, chronicles the journey of Apu from childhood to adolescence against the backdrop of changing familial dynamics and societal pressures. Satyajit Roy won the Golden Lion Award for this movie.

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3. Apur Sansar

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   - Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Alok Chakravarty

   - Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Concluding the Apu Trilogy, Apur Sansar explores Apu's struggles with love, loss, and identity as he navigates adulthood in the bustling city of Calcutta.


4. Charulata

   - Cast: Madhabi Mukherjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sailen Mukherjee

   - Where to watch: YouTube

Charulata explores the complexities of a woman's desires and aspirations within the confines of a suffocating patriarchal society. It brilliantly showcases Ray's masterful storytelling and craft of character development.


5. Devi

   - Cast: Sharmila Tagore, Soumitra Chatterjee, Chhabi Biswas

   - Where to watch: Criterion Channel, YouTube

Ray's exploration of religious fanaticism and superstition, Devi follows the restless journey of a young woman believed to be an incarnation of a goddess.


6. Nayak

   - Cast: Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Bireswar Sen

   - Where to watch: YouTube

Nayak tells the story of the psyche of a celebrated actor during a train journey alongside his insecurities, regrets, and existential dilemmas.


7. Teen Kanya

   - Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Kali Bannerjee

   - Where to watch: Criterion Channel, YouTube

Comprising three short films, Teen Kanya explores the complexities of female relationships and societal norms with sensitivity and depth.


8. Jalsaghar

   - Cast: Chhabi Biswas, Padma Devi, Pinaki Sengupta

   - Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Jalsaghar immerses viewers in the corrupt world of a zamindar obsessed with maintaining his aristocratic status through lavish music concerts.

9. Mahanagar

   - Cast: Madhabi Mukherjee, Anil Chatterjee, Jaya Bhaduri

   - Where to watch: YouTube

Set against the backdrop of expanding urbanization, Mahanagar explores a woman's journey toward self-discovery and empowerment in a rapidly changing society.

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10. Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen

    - Cast: Tapen Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Santosh Dutta

    - Where to watch: YouTube

A delightful fantasy musical, Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen follows the adventures of two struggling musicians granted magical powers. Watch it for an extraordinary escape into a world of imagination.


11. Sonar Kella

    - Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Santanu Bagchi, Siddhartha Chattopadhyay

    - Where to watch: Zee 5, Amazon Prime

Sonar Kella blends mystery and adventure as it follows the journey of a young boy with memories of a past life, leading to a quest for a mythical golden fortress.

12. Hirak Rajar Deshe

    - Cast: Tapen Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Utpal Dutt

    - Where to watch: Amazon Prime

A satirical masterpiece, Hirak Rajar Deshe critiques authoritarianism and propaganda through a tale set in a kingdom ruled by an oppressive king.


13. Agantuk

    - Cast: Utpal Dutt, Mamata Shankar, Dipankar Dey

    - Where to watch: YouTube

Ray's final film Agantuk explored the clash between tradition and modernity through the unexpected visit of a mysterious stranger, inviting viewers to question their perceptions of truth and identity.

In his entire career, Satyajit Ray directed 36 films including 29 feature films, five documentaries, and two short films. Celebrated for decades, the listed Satyajit Ray movies are a testament to his exceptional craft of storytelling in cinema. There were several coveted laurels in Satyajit Ray’s name including Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shri, Dadasaheb Phalke Awards, 4 BAFTA Awards for Best Film, and several National Film Awards.

ALSO READ: 6 Indian films that previously competed for Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or before All We Imagine as Light

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Satyajit Ray's FAQs

What movie did Satyajit Ray win an Oscar for?
Satyajit Ray didn’t win an Oscar for any particular movie but for his contribution to cinema. He was awarded a Lifetime Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Oscars in 1992.

What is Satyajit Ray best known for?
Satyajit Ray is best known for his groundbreaking contributions to Indian cinema as a filmmaker, screenwriter, music composer, graphic artist, and author. He gained international acclaim for his Apu Trilogy, comprising Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and Apur Sansar (1959), which is widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in world cinema.

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About The Author

Aditya Sagar is an Entertainment Journalist who holds a true-blue Bollywood heart and has his ears tuned to the

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