Pather Panchali

The film tells the story of a poor brahmin family who live in their ancestral village in Bengal. The father, Harihar Roy (Kanu Banerjee) is a poet and lay priest, an optimist and dreamer whose unrealistic approach to life keeps his family in humiliating poverty. The mother, Sarbajaya (Karuna Banerjee), a practical woman who must cope with the everyday struggles of the family; Durga (Uma Dasgupta), their daughter, about six years old when the film begins, whose one bad habit is stealing mangoes from the neighbour's orchards; Apu (Subir Banerjee), their son, an intelligent boy much indulged by mother and sister; Indir Thakrun (Chunibala Devi), an aged aunt who lives in a hut in the garden, constantly bickering with the mother but beloved by Durga.

Sarbajaya resents having to share her home with the old and helpless cripple Indir. At times, Sarbajaya's taunts become offensive, forcing Indir to take temporary refuge in the home of another relative. Durga is fond of Indir and often gives her fruit she has stolen from a wealthy neighbour's orchard. One day, the neighbour's wife accuses Durga of stealing a bead necklace (which Durga denies) and blames Sarbajaya for encouraging her tendency to steal.

As the elder sibling, Durga cares for Apu with motherly affection, but spares no opportunity to tease him. Together, they share the simple joys of life: sitting quietly under a tree, viewing pictures in a traveling vendor's bioscope, running after the candy man who passes through the village, and watching a jatra (folk theatre) performed by a troupe of actors. Every evening they are delighted by the sound of a distant train's whistle. One day, they run away from home to catch a glimpse of the train, only to discover Indir lying dead on their return.

Unable to earn a good living in the village, Harihar travels to the city to seek a better job. He promises Sarbajaya that he will return with money to repair their dilapidated house. During his absence, the family sinks deeper into poverty. One day Sarbajaya gets a postcard from her husband which brings good news - he has earned the necessary money and is returning home.

The homecoming is saddened by Durga's death. The father at last faces life realistically and decides to take his family to Benaras.

The family leave their ancestral home for a new life.


film details

Name of the Film:
Pather Panchali
Satyajit Ray
Production Company:
Government of West Bengal
Ravi Shankar
Subir Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee, Uma Dasgupta, Chunibala Devi
Release Date:
August 26, 1955
Distribution Company:
Aurora Film Corporation P. Ltd.