'Bicycle Thieves' Effect on Satyajit Ray
1950, ‘Bicycle Thieves’ Confirms Satyajit Ray’s Belief in Realistic CinemaA business trip to London in 1950 proved a turning point. Ray and wife travelled to London by ship, a journey that took 16 days. With him, he was carrying a notebook in which he had made some notes on making a film of Pather Panchali. He wanted the film to be shot on actual locations, no make-up with new faces. The reaction to this had been negative from his friends. Shooting on locations with unknown actors was thought be a totally unfeasible idea. In this six-months long stay abroad, Ray saw about a hundred films including Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. Bicycle Thieves made a profound impression on Ray. Later, in the introduction of ‘Our Films, Their Films’, he wrote- “All through my stay in London, the lessons of Bicycle Thieves and neo-realist cinema stayed with me”. The film had reconfirmed his conviction that it was possible to make realistic cinema with an almost entirely amateur cast and shooting at actual locations. He had completed his treatment of Pather Panchali on the return journey to India by a ship.
All through my stay in London, the lessons of Bicycle Thieves and neo-realist cinema stayed with me.