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Ray the artist

His innovations like Ray Roman, Daphnis, Bizarre, Holiday Script, and others are still revered today. The fonts using Bengali alphabets (notable ones on Sandesh and Anandamela) influenced a whole generation of young designers.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Satyajit Ray was born on the 23rd of April 1921 in an affluent family having rich literary credentials.

His father Sukumar Ray was a writer and poet who founded a children’s magazine (Sandesh) in 1913 but passed away prematurely in 1923.

After many disruptions, the able son was able to revive the magazine of his illustrious father in 1961. Even as a freelance designer (at Signet press) the variety of letter types that he could introduce in the late fifties both in Bengali and English showed an amazing grasp of the art of typography.

His innovations like Ray Roman, Daphnis, Bizarre, Holiday Script, and others are still revered today. The fonts using Bengali alphabets (notable ones on Sandesh and Anandamela) influenced a whole generation of young designers.

In the long run, his versatility won over his genius. That a man could be a filmmaker, designer, painter, writer of exorable quality, music composer, songwriter, book illustrator and an authority on the art of painting and calligraphy is a bewildering thought inexplicable by mere conjecture. The passion for refinement never deserted the artist that he was.

Ray admitted quite often that his maturity in fine arts including the fineries of film making owed a lot in essence to the two-year phase-in art schooling at Santiniketan, beginning in 1941, where his teachers taught him oriental art and calligraphy.

It was here that he learned to look at nature beyond the boundaries and respond to its silent rhythm. Shapes and colours moved all around him. Nandalal Bose taught him how to feel sincerely and deeply about objects. He could use text and type along with pictures to form integrated designs as a junior visualiser in an advertising firm in Kolkata. The discipline of working in that limited space found its finest expression in sketches of the frames for his films later. On his 101st birth anniversary this week, shoto shoto pronam to the great artist.