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MADHUPARNA DAS   |   Published 29.07.05, 12:00 AM

On July 24, 1980 Bengali cinema lost their beloved Mahanayak forever. But even after decades, Uttam Kumar still rules the heart of every Bengali. His hypnotic screen presence, amazing personality and charismatic smile are fresh in the mind even after 25 years and people still love to watch his films again and again. Channel B has six memorable films of Uttam Kumar for the home viewers. Here you get the glimpse of a ‘different’ Uttam, not the familiar romantic hero...

Agniswar (Rs 149) directed by Arabinda Mukhopadhyay has Uttam Kumar essaying one of his most acclaimed role as a no-nonsense doctor who dedicates his entire life to serve the villagers till his last breath. This film also has Madhabi Mukhopadhyay, Sumitra Mukherjee and Dilip Roy. This dynamic doctor, Agniswar Mukhopadhyay, with his razor-sharp retorts and the kindest heart, enthrals.

Also directed by Arabindo Mukhopadhyay, Nishi Padma (Rs 149) is based on a story by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Uttam Kumar in a very interesting character of a man who frequents a prostitute called Pushpa, played by Savitri Debi. One interesting point of reference is Shakti Samanta’s film, Amar Prem, where Rajesh Khanna did the same role. Here Uttam is heard consoling Pushpa and telling her to wipe off her tears because they are nothing but saline water, in his inimitable style. Nishi Padma won the National Awards for best singers ? Manna Dey and Sandhya Mukherjee ? for its beautiful compositions.

Ekhane Pinjar (Rs 149) directed by Jatrik has Uttam Kumar playing an acclaimed writer who comes across a criminal (Dilip Mukherjee) and tries to reform him. But before he could get him a decent job he gets killed in an encounter and Uttam is left with the duty of breaking the news to his family. Once there, he finds it difficult to tell them and instead gets involved in their life. This film has Aparna Sen, Tarun Kumar, Jahar Ray and Gyanesh Mukherjee.

Chhinnapatra (Rs 99) also directed by Jatrik, has Uttam Kumar in a double role. One is the unruly, rich and spoilt brat who’s killed on the roadside by his enemies while the other, a good guy, reaches the dead man’s house and is compelled to take his place. Interesting twists and turns take place as he tries to fit into the dead man’s shoes. The film has Supriya Debi and Madhabi Mukherjee.

Roudra Chhaya (Rs 99) directed by Sachin Adhikari, has Uttam Kumar playing a long-lost son of an industrialist who is brought up in a church and turns into a goon. This film has Anjana Bhowmik, Chhaya Debi, Kamal Mitra, Tarun Kumar and Subrata. This is a different Uttam Kumar in a negative role.

Bou Thakuranir Haat (Rs 149) is based on Tagore’s story by the same name and is directed by Naresh Mitra. Now that period films have become popular again, this one has it made. Uttam Kumar plays a prince surrounded by conspiracy. The cast includes Nitish Mukherjee, Pahari Sanyal, Manju De and Bhanu Bandyopadhyay.

It is Satyajit Ray who bestowed the most fitting tribute when he said, “It is the demise of a leading light of the Bengali film industry?There isn’t, there won’t be another hero like him.” And how true it is.

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