Neorealism in Pather Panchali

Evidently, Pather Panchali contains all the salient features of neorealism as epitomized by the prominent Italian movie maker, Zabattini. According to neorealism theorists, the filmmaker must always remain a passive and neutral observer of his or her own work. In other words, filmmakers should refrain from imposing their own individual interpretations on their works. They must always remain passive observers as the reality unfolds. Regardless of whether or not filmmakers are depicting misery or prosperity in their movies, they must uphold objectivity and allow logic to speak for itself. Even though Ray is unable to sustain the highest form of objectivity in his work, there are deliberate attempts to do so, particularly in scenes in which Durga and Apu are living in absolute squalor, and the filmmaker makes no effort to describe their hardships.

In a perfect enactment of neorealism, Ray also allows the viewers the benefit of watching the scene and forming their own subjective judgment and assessments. In other instances, Ray is unable to uphold subjectivity, contrary to neorealism. To his credit, however, he refrains from making direct comments about certain characters or situations. In a typical neorealism style, he does not provide any hints or suggestions that would influence the audience’s train of thought. There reason for this refrain is because neo-realists are predisposed not to their characters, but to the reality as it unfolds in the movies.