Satyajit Ray’s widow Bijoya dies at 98

Legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s widow Bijoya Ray who had been a lifelong inspiration for the maestro, died at a private hospital in Kolkata after prolonged illness.

Bijoya, 98, is survived by her filmmaker son Sandip Ray, daughter-in-law Lalita and grandson Souradeep.

She was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic on Saturday afternoon following acute pneumonia attack and was undergoing treatment under physician Swapan Pal. She passed away at 6.06 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, hospital chief executive officer P. Tondon told media.

Bijoya married Satyajit Ray on October 20, 1948. She was a devoted wife and was a big influence on and inspiration for the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee during his lifetime. She even pawned all her jewellery when her husband ran out of money during the shooting of ‘Pather Panchali’, a landmark film of Indian cinema which placed the country in the global cinema map. She was always the first person to whom the honorary Oscar winner read out his film scripts to, and often carried out modifications based on her suggestions.

Satyajit Ray, whose famous works include the Apu Trilogy, passed away on April 23, 1992.

An actress and singer herself, Bijoya had acted in ‘Sesh Raksha’ (1944), where she also did a playback. She had penned her days with her National Award winning husband in an autobiography ‘Amader Katha' which was later translated into English as ‘Manik and I’.

Following the news, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went to the hospital and offered her condolence to the bereaved family. Describing Bijoya as a bridge between two generations of filmmakers - Satyajit Ray and their son Sandip - she said that her demise was an irreparable loss.

“Deeply saddened at the demise of Bijoya Roy,” the Chief Minister tweeted.