Aparajito is a 1956 Indian Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray, and is the second part of The Apu Trilogy. It is adapted from the last one-fifth of Bibhutibhushan Bannerjee's novel Pather Panchali and the first one-third of its sequel Aparajito. It starts off where the previous film Pather Panchali ended, with Apu's family moving to Varanasi, and chronicles Apu's life from childhood to adolescence in college, right up to his mother's death, when he is left all alone.
When Ray started making Pather Panchali, he had no plans of following it up with a sequel. The critical and commercial success of the film prompted him to start making Aparajito. Unlike his previous venture, where he stayed faithful to the novel, Ray took some bold artistic decisions here, like portraying the relationship between Apu and his mother in a very different manner. As a result, in contrast to its predecessor, the film was not received well locally; Ray recalled that "as for the suburban audience, it was shocked by the portrayal of the mother and son relationship, so sharply at variance with the conventional notion of mutual sweetness and devotion".
Critical reception outside India was however overwhelmingly positive. It won 11 international awards, including the Golden Lion and Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival, becoming the first ever film to win both. Veteran film-maker Mrinal Sen said he considers it to be one of the best Indian movies he had ever seen. Bosley Crowther said that "It is done with such rare feeling and skill at pictorial imagery, and with such sympathetic understanding of Indian character on the part of Mr. Ray, that it develops a sort of hypnotism for the serene and tolerant viewer." The critical acclaim this movie received encouraged Ray to make another sequel, Apur Sansar, which was equally well received, and thus concluded one of the most critically acclaimed movie trilogies of all time, as Roger Ebert later pointed out-"The three films, which were made in India by Satyajit Ray between 1950 and 1959, swept the top prizes at Cannes, Venice and London, and created a new cinema for India-whose prolific film industry had traditionally stayed within the narrow confines of swashbuckling musical romances. Never before had one man had such a decisive impact on the films of his culture."
(Summary from Wikipedia)