By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on November 26, 2015
He worked at an advertising agency, designed graphics, created award-winning fonts, edited a children's magazine, wrote short stories, drew illustrations for books, composed music and designed posters. By the by, he was also one of the most influential filmmakers of Indian Cinema. His name was Satyajit Ray.
A writer, a filmmaker, a music director and an illustrator. Satyajit Ray certainly was a multi-talented genius. Though the world knows him as one of the legendary pioneers of Indian cinema, Ray was someone who had many dimensions to his artistic personality. He was the master of all trades he ever ventured in. Born in a family, where there was abundance of creative genius, Ray studied fine arts at Tagore's Shantiniketan before starting out as a junior visualizer at the British advertising firm D.J. Keymer. He also worked as an illustrator for Signet Press, where he produced some phenomenal book cover designs. After working at the ad agency for about 13 years, he quit his job to take up filmmaking and the rest is history. Even after he had left his job, he would go on to design the posters and publicity material for his films in the years to come and did a fabulous job there too!
Talking about Ray's work for the Signet Press, Sandipan Deb says in his article for The Mint, "Ray’s cover designs and illustrations for Signet Press were revolutionary. They were a complete break from the usual Indian publishing approach of printing. Ray was, without knowing it, the first “graphic designer” in India. What Milton Glaser was doing in the US, Ray was doing at Signet Press."
It is this overarching understanding of art that made his films, the beautiful visual and sonic experiences that they are. Whether it was the intricately crafted opening sequence of Charulata, which has only one dialogue in the seven minute long montage, or the sequence of the arrival of rains in Pather Panchali, we can clearly see the artist in Ray, who paints his canvas in his own style!
Here we have compiled a few of Ray's illustrations from various sources.
Poster of Devi, designed by Ray (Courtesy: www.bongfeed.com)
Ray's poster for 'Ghare Baire' (Courtesy: www.satyajitray.ucsc.edu)
Ray's Poster for Feluda's 25th Anniversary (Courtesy: www.satyajitray.ucsc.edu)
Indian poster for Charulata designed by Ray (Courtesy: www.mubi.com)
Book Cover of the translation of Jim Corbett's 'Maneaters of Kumaon' (Courtesy: thebigindianpicture.com)
Book Cover designed by Ray for Abanindranath Tagore's Raj Kahini (Courtesy: thebigindianpicture.com)
Calligraphy for Devi by Ray (Courtesy: www.blog.rarh.in)
Typefaces designed by Ray: Ray Roman, Ray Bizarre, Holiday Script, Daphnis (Courtesy: www.maamatimanush.tv)
Calligraphy for Ebaro Baro (Courtesy: www.satyajitrayworld.com)
A print advertisement designed by Ray (Courtesy: www.satyajitray.org)
An illustration from 'Baksa Rahasya' starring the wildly popular detective Feluda (Courtesy: www.afsviewfinders.com)
A sketch of Mother Teresa by Ray (Courtesy: www.satyajitrayworld.com)
An illustration by Ray from 'Aam Aatir Bhepu' (Courtesy: www.maamatimanush.tv)
Illustrations done by Ray for Costume Design (Courtesy: www.satyajitrayworld.com)
Ray's illustration for the story 'Professor Shonku O Chi-Ching' (Courtesy: www.satyajitrayworld.com)