Kolkata: Film maestro Satyajit Ray’s widow Bijoya Ray, a lifelong inspiration for the master, died at a private nursing home here on Tuesday following an acute pneumonia attack, a nursing home spokesman said.
Bijoya Ray, 98, left behind her filmmaker son Sandip, daughter-in-law Lalita and grandson Souradeep.
“She was admitted to our nursing home on Saturday noon following an acute pneumonia attack. She was under the treatment of physician Swapan Pal. She passed away at 6.06 p.m.,” Belle Vue Clinic chief executive officer P. Tondon told IANS.
She had been put on ventilator support as her conditioned worsened after admission.
Bijoya Ray was born Bijoya Das to Charu Chandra Das, a barrister and Madhuri Devi, younger sister of nationalist leader ‘Deshbandhu’ C.R. Das’s wife Basanti Devi.
A gifted Rabindra Sangeet singer, who also acted in some films, Bijoya married her first cousin Satyajit in 1949 after years of courtship.
Till the legendary filmmaker’s death on April 23, 1992, Bijoya was a big influence on and inspiration for Satyajit Ray.
She even pawned all her jewellery as Satyajit Ray ran out of money during the shooting of “Pather Panchali”, a landmark film that broke Indian stereotypes to create a new idiom of film viewing in India and placed the country in the global cinema map.
She was always the first person that Satyajit Ray read out his film scripts to, and often carried out modifications based on her suggestions.
Among the films she acted in was “Sesh Raksha” (1944), where she also did a playback.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accompanied by her ministers Firhad Hakim and Arup Biswas, rushed to the nursing home to pay her tributes.
“Deeply saddened at the demise of Bijoya Roy,” Banerjee tweeted.