Pother Panchali(Song of the Little Road)

An awesome novel I read

Tina S
Tina S
Nov 17, 2009
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“Pother Panchali” is one of my favorite novels. It was really a great pleasure that I read such a nice novel. Apu and Durga was my favorite characters in this novel. Pathar Panchali takes place in a village where dirt paths were the only type of roads to be found.
The relationship of brother and sister was very affectionate in this novel.
It was written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and was later made in to a film of the same name by Satyajit Ray. Pather Panchali deals with the life of the Roy family, both in their ancestral village in rural Bengal and later when they move to Varanasi in search of a better life, as well as the anguish and loss they face during their travels.

The Title:

Pather Panchali, pather means ‘of the path’, Panchali means ’folk song’, so means of Pather Panchali is Song of The Road.Other translations of the title have been used, such as "The Lament of the Path", "Song of the Road", and "Song of the Open Road".
The Bengali word Path literally means path and Pather means "of the path". Panchali refers to a type of narrative folk song that used to be performed in Bengal, and was the
Forerunner of another type of folk song now known as jatra.

About The Novel:

The novel Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay is a classic bildungsroman (coming-of-age kind of novel ) in Bengali literature. It first appeared as a serial in a periodical in 1928, and was published as a book in 1929.
To a great extent, it was based on the author's own early life. The novel depicts a poor family's struggle to survive in their ancestral rural home and the growing up of Apu, the son of the family.

Satyajit Ray read the novel for the first time in 1943, when he was doing the illustrations for a new edition of the novel, and contemplated the possibility of making a script around 1947–48.Ray chose the novel because of certain qualities that, according to him, "made it a great book: its humanism, its lyricism, and its ring of truth. "The author's widow granted permission for Ray to make a film based on the novel; however, the agreement was on principle only, and no financial arrangement was made.


Aam  Aatir  Vepu –Story:

The story is set in a remote Bengali village in the early years of the 20th century. Main characters are young brother and sister, Apu and Durga. They are both good looking (especially Apu) and are fond of each other. They are growing under miserable poverty. Children’s mind and imagination are the main concentration in this novel. Imaginative Apu’s feelings have been mostly portrayed in this part. It depicts incidents like: Apu-Durga getting lost while searching for railway tracks, their secret picnics, Durga getting beaten by her mother and once by sejo thakrun for stealing things from sejo thakrun’s house, Apu’s dream of flying, etc..

The father Harihar is priest, an optimist and dreamer, who never compromised with his dreams in spite of living in abject poverty. The mother Sarbajaya epitomizes practicality has the biggest responsibility for raising her 6 years old daughter Durga and caring for elder sister-in-law who is distant relative and sometimes irritates her. Apu, their son grows amidst the love and pampering of mother and sister. An aged aunt beloved by Durga. Meanwhile mother grows tired of her husband’s complacency. Durga is facing false charges of theft by the rich lady. Indir Thakurun’s constant bickering with the mother and then ultimately she dies, not in the courtyard of her house as was her last wish but at the orchard. Durga had been suffering for quite a long time from malaria and soon after recovery she died because of heart fail, monsoon turbulence caused disaster in village, father’s homecoming is saddened by Durga’s death and he finally faces life realistically and decides to take his family to Banaras for search of a new life. Apu was not willing to leave his lovely village, his friends, ranudi,potu,etc., the trees, their house.. and the memories of his sister….but he was forced to……

As a Film:

Satyajit Ray read the novel for the first time in 1943.Pather Panchali was a critical and popular success. Influenced by Italian neorealism, Satyajit Ray developed his own style of lyrical realism in this film. The first movie from independent India to attract major international critical attention, Pather Panchali won "Best Human Document" at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival,establishing Satyajit Ray as a major international filmmaker. Pather Panchali is today considered one of the greatest films of all time.
In the USA, Pather Panchali played at the 5th Avenue Playhouse for a record 36 weeks, breaking the previous record held by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.


    * President's Gold & Silver Medals, New Delhi, 1955
    * Best Human Document, Cannes 1956
    * Diploma Of Merit, Edinbugh, 1956
    * Vatican Award, Rome, 1956
    * Golden Carbao, Manila, 1956
    * Best Film and Direction, San Francisco, 1957
    * Selznik Golden Laurel, Berlin, 1957
    * Best Film, Vancouver, 1958
    * Critics' Award - Best Film, Stratford, (Canada), 1958
    * Best Foreign Film, New York, 1959
    * Kinema Jumpo Award: Best Foreign Film, Tokyo 1966
    * Bodil Award: Best Non-European Film of the Year, Denmark, 1966


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