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Pather Panchali

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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(Oct 28, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

One of the greatest directors of modern cinema, Satyajit Ray became an instant success with his debut film, PATHER PANCHALI (Song of the Little Road). The first Indian film to ever become a hit in the West, PATHER PANCHALI is the moving story of a rural family cursed with bad luck. Father Hari is adreamer and poet, while his hard-working wife struggles to feed the family. But Durga, a free-spirited and petty thief, brings tragedy to the family in a moment's carelessness. Awarded many prizes atfilm festivals all over the world, PATHER PANCHALI catapulted Satyajit Ray to international acclaimand launched one of the cinema's most distinguished careers.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Subir Bannerjee, Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee
  • Directors: Satyajit Ray
  • Producers: Satyajit Ray
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C9JFR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,183 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pather Panchali" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 8, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Once upon a time, in the early years of the last century, a young boy named Apu lived with his poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father, Harihar Ray (Kanu Bannerjee) is a poet and a priest, who would rather think of an idea for his next play than make an effort to get the money that is owed him, and who responds to the hardships of life with the simple declaration, "Whatever God does is for the best." Consequently, he has to travel far away for long periods of time to try and raise the money his family needs to survive, to pay back their debts, and to repair the family home, which is falling down. This leaves his wife and two children to survive as best they can in this intimate and poetic film.
The two things I knew about this classic Indian film before I watched it was that it was the first by director Satyajit Ray and the first in the Apu trilogy. I found the later more interesting because Apu (Subir Bannerjee) is arguable the least significant of the major characters in this film, which centers more on his mother, Sarbojaya (Karuna Bannerjee), and especially his sister, Durga (Uma Das Gupta). Durga is something of a petty theft, who is always stealing fruit from the neighborhood orchards. Her mother defends her behavior to the neighbors, pointing out that fruit does not have the name of its owner on it, but she does not know what to do about Durga, or about the family's old auntie (Chunibala Devi). Apu is a witness to some of what happens, but it is not until the end of the film that he has a scene of some importance. Even then, it is the poetry of the moment that matters more than anything Apu does, and you are left with a sense of wonder as to how Ray has crafted this film so that this relatively simple moment becomes so eloquent.
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Format: DVD
Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)

This would be a ludicrously long review before I ran out of good things to say about Pather Panchali. But everyone else has already said all those things. If you didn't listen to them, you're not going to listen to me, but I'll put in a "see it. now." here for good measure and get onto what will be a review not of a great film, but a ludicrous DVD release.

Biswas proudly trumpets that it has exclusive rights to Pather Panchali in the DVD market. If this is the case, it should be considered a crime against nature. The video transfer is horrible, the sound transfer only marginally better. I've seen better subtitling on bargain-basement bootleg Chinese DVDs. If your only chance to see the film is in the Biswas DVD release, wait until you can catch a revival somewhere. This is terrible in the extreme, and hopefully, someday, someone will do something about it. The movie gets four stars; the DVD release, one.
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Format: VHS Tape
Pather Panchali, a simple, moving, story of a family struggling to survive the harshness of poverty in a village in Bengal. Nothing magical, nothing remarkable, and yet their lives encompass all the varied emotions that is within us all. That is the greatness of this film. It is ageless and universal. The bond between the girl Durga and Auntie,the old old lady is sweet and moving. So is the love between the little brother Apu and elder sister Durga. The simple things that fill these children with happiness, like a passing train, transport us to the simplicity of our childhood. The song when old Auntie calls to God in the gloomy dusk, to relieve her from the burden of this earth is haunting and sad, in that we feel the utter loneliness of the old woman. Each scene, is filled with meaning and there are no artificial sounds. In one of the scenes, with Durga and Apu roaming in the fields, there is just a heavy stillness, broken just by the sound of a sighing wind. The sitar recital by Ravi Shankar when the monsoon breaks and the first drops of rain fall, with the insects dancing over the rippling lake is magical and poetic. This movie, considered the best of Satyajit's work, remains one of the best and unforgettable movies, for me.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Delicate, almost lyrical black-and-white images, offer insight into the harshness of life in a rural Bengali village. Panther Panchali is the first movie in Satyajit Ray's (1921-1992) compelling Apu Trilogy. Ravi Shankar's hauntingly beautiful music takes this movie to a mythical level.

Satyajit Ray's ability to reveal this story at a leisurely pace, all while intriguing you with the details of Indian life, keeps you captive to the last minute. Even the old stone buildings of the ancestral home seem artistic.

In the first story we find Durga stealing guavas and Apu is not yet born. As Durga's mother, Sarbajaya (Karuna Bannerjee), struggles to look after family members she is already responsible for, her relatives criticize her for her lack of leadership in the family. The auntie Indir (Chunibala Devi) takes delight in Durga's adventures and loves the gifts of bananas and guavas.

There is a comforting scene where she is seen sitting against an ancient wall while she rocks Apu in a basket hanging from the ceiling. As she sings there is a moment of serenity in this world where each day seems to be a fight for survival. Her optimistic attitude is almost heroic in the light of how she is often treated. She has much to offer her community and excels at story telling. Watch for the scene where her face is silhouetted against the wall late at night. This movie has many cinematic moments that border on enlightened creativity.

For some reason, this movie reminded me of living in Africa on a campsite/farm where we would borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbors house or wander down a path to the river. Here we find the comical "Indir" stealing chilies or other cooking supplies from Sarbajaya.
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