The hospitalized [Satyajit Ray] accepted the honorary Oscar in a film clip made March 16 and shown at the Academy Awards ceremonies March 30. He also recently won two top Indian awards-for best film and best director-with his latest movie, "Agantuk" ("The Stranger"). As with all but one of his films, it was made in his native Bengali language.
Ray sold or pawned all his worldly goods and, with the help limited financing from friends, began filming "Pather Panchali" in 1952. However, it was repeatedly delayed by budgetary constraints. Encouraged by French director Jean Renoir, who was then shooting "The River" in India, and with the monetary aid of the Bengal government and American director John Huston (who had seen a rough cut of Ray's first film), the story of Apu came to the screen.
Most of his films-including two Apu sequels, "Aparajito" in 1956 and "The World of Apu" in 1959, were set in Bengal, an impecunious but culturally rich region bordering Bangladesh. But Ray maintained that they were not films about India or Indians but about people.