Nirmal Dey, who directed Basu Paribar, Sare Chuattor, Champadangar Bou, Nirdharito Shilpir Anuposthite among other notable ones. He was also the writer of the very popular Hindi movie Shagird starring Joy Mukerjee, Saira Banu and I.S. Johar.
Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Jomalaye Jibonto Manush, the basic storyline which will later be adopted into an eponymous film starring Bhanu Bandyopadhyay and Basabi Nandi.
Chitra Sen, mother of Kaushik Sen and grandmother of Riddhi Sen. She won the 2010 Best actress award from the Government of West Bengal for her role in Jalchhabi.
Sabitri Chatterjee. Bhanu Bandyopadhyay gave Sabitri Chatterjee her first break on the stage in the play Notun Ihudi, a play of Uttar Sarathi group theatre on the refugees from East Pakistan. The play was being directed by Kanu Banerjee, who is remembered for his performance in Ray’s Pather Panchali.
Kali Banerjee. The name of the movie is Ogo Shunchho.
6. In a classic audio-drama Bhanu Bandyopadhyay as husband says to his wife that diseases used to have names sounding ‘Ya Ya’ — like pneumonia, malaria, anaemia, diphtheria... Now we have diseases which sound like ‘Is’ — pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, encephelitis... “And when doctors cannot figure out the disease they talk about something sounding like ‘us’.” What was the term he referred to?
Bhanu Bandyopadhyay’s wife Nilima Bandyopadhyay was a prolific singer herself. These three films are among her notable contributions as a playback singer.
8.In 1967, Bhanu appeared in a fantasy which was about getting back one’s youth by taking a dip in a magical pond. Years later, an English movie had a similar concept and earned two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Visual Effects. It was also about a swimming pool charged with life forces that gave elderly couples the pleasure of feeling young once again. What was the Bengali movie and English one?
The Bengali movie was Ashite Ashio Na and the English one was Cocoon, directed by Ron Howard.
When the clue is in the picture
Padma Devi, who was one of the earliest action heroines of the Indian Cinema and later stunned the audience through her mother-cum-middleman act in Ray’s Jana Aranya. Here she is seen in the movie Sare Chuattor which shot Bhanu Bandyopadhyay to stardom as a comedian and character actor. Presumably, she is carrying the jar of malpos.
This scene is from Chowringhee which was based on the eponymous novel by Shankar. The scarf was for Karabi Guha, played by Supriya Devi. Karabi was found dead in her room before this scene. The colour of the scarf was Basanti or a form of yellow.
This still is from Ashite Ashio Na, directed by a unit of directors who called themselves Shree Jayadrath. In this scene, a septuagenarian character, played by Ruma Gugathakurta, discovered that she has suddenly turned sweet seventeen after taking dip in a magic pond.
The still is from the movie Miss Priyangbada, directed by Rabi Basu and Dushmanta Chowdhury. The co-actor in this scene is Horidhon Mukhopadhyay.
Sare Chuattor had a stellar cast. Despite the presence of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen, it was out-and-out a Tulsi Chakraborty and Bhanu Bandyopadhyay show. In this scene he is accompanied by two of the most popular crooners from Bengal — Shyamal Mitra (to his extreme right) and Manabendra Mukhopadhyay (to his exact left).
his is another classic scene from Ashite Ashio Na where a father lands up in an identify crisis after suddenly getting younger. Bhanu Bandopadhyay is playing the octogenarian-turned-18 and Kamal Mitra and Asitbaran are playing his sons. As the sons fail to recognise their transformed father they are about to kick him out of the house thinking that he is an imposter and charlatan.
One film is Nirdharito Shilpir Anuposthitite and the other is Ray’s Chiriakhana, the former being a comedy-turns-serious movie and the later is from a darker genre. The actor is Shailen Mukhopadhyay.
No it was not Santu Mukhopadhyay. Santu debuted in Sansar Simante. It was Bhishma Guhathakurta, whose first appearance on the title credit was as a child artiste in Ajay Kar’s Grihaprabesh at the age of five. Guhathakurata is known for his performance in movies like Banchharamer Bagan, Ganashatru, Atanka among other notable ones.
All of them played the same character in the different versions of the Tapan Sinha classic Golpo Holeo Sotti. Asrani did the role in Bawarchi. Komal did it in the Kannada movie #73, Shanthi Nivaasa. Bhanu Bandyopadhyay played the role of the musician Chhotokhoka in the Bengali version.
Nirdharito Shilpir Anuposthitite. Bhanu Bandyopadhyay’s wife Nilima Bandopadhyay and daughter Basabi Ghatak released Bhanu’s lost film Nirdharito Shilpir Onuposthitite on DVD in 2011.
On the extreme left is Nabadwip Haldar, who became famous for his Laurel Hardy act with Shyam Laha. In the middle is Jiben Bose, who graced the Bengali film industry for five decades as a character actor. This is a scene from Swarga Martya, directed by Asim Pal.
Focus on remakes
During the 60s and early 70s, several successful Bengali movies were remade in other languages. This section is on some of the movies of Bhanu Bandyopadhyay which were remade.
You had to look at the posters of the remade movies and guess the original Bengali film
Pasher Bari was made in 1952, based on the short story of the same name by Arun Chowdhury. The most notable remakes were Padosan in Hindi in 1968 and Aduthu Veettu Penn in Tamil in 1960. Pasher Bari made Sabitri Chatterjee a star in her own right.
When Jomaloye Jibonto Manush was made in 1958, Bhanu Bandyopadhyay was already a popular name with Bengali cine-goers. The film furthered his image as a comedian, who could be a lead actor too. The notable remakes were Devanthakudu (Daredevil) in Telugu in 1960 and Naan Kanda Sorgam (My Heaven) in Tamil in the same year. Devanthakudu had NTR in the lead role. The story was written by dramatist Dinabandhu Mitra of Neeldarpan fame.
Tapan Sinha’s Apanjan won many accolades including the National Award in 1968 for the Best Feature Film in Bengali and several Bengali Film Journalists’ Association awards. The scene where a young group of people sang a Rabindrasangeet about hope and light in the middle of a dark night is an iconic one. Mere Apne was the first directorial venture of Gulzar. It was the first movie of Vinod Khanna in a positive lead role and it was Danny’s first movie. Benki Birugali (Fire and Storm) was the name of the nondescript remake in Kannada.
Bhrantibilas, made in 1963 was based on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s novel of same name. The novel itself was loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. The 1982 remake of Angoor gave Deven Verma his third and last major award as a comedian. Do Dooni Chaar was a remake from 1968 and is remembered more for the beautiful rendition of Hawaon Pe Likhdo than perhaps anything else. However, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan of 1998 remains as a case study of how not to remake a classic.
Chhele Kaar, starring Bikash Roy and Arundhati Devi, received the National Award in 1954. The following year it was remade in Hindi as Bandish, which also had a great cast, including Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari. Three years later, Gemini Ganeshan starred in the Tamil version Yaar Paiyyan (Whose son?)
The original was Galpa Holeo Sotti. Hero No. 1 was all that can go creatively wrong and commercially right about remaking a classic. The first Kannada remake was Sakalakalavallaba (Master of all arts) starring Shashikumar, who was known as “Supreme Hero” of Kannada film industry and is a member of the Indian National Congress.
The winner of the quiz is Abhijit Sen of BG Block.
“So many of Bhanu Bandyopadhyay’s films are imprinted in my memory — Ora Thak Odhare, Ashite Ashio Na, Miss Priyangbada, Sare Chuattor... Even now, if I spot any of them being telecast on any channel, I get hooked. I used to do quiz contests in my college days. I had even travelled to Delhi to appear in BBC’s Mastermind India quiz and came second in the round. Bhanu, in my opinion, ranks next only to Tulsi Chakraborty and is at par with Jahar Roy among the comedians in Bengali cinema,” says Sen.
Two other readers who came close to Sen are Koushik Pattanayak of East Enclave, New Town, and Sumitra Sinha Chowdhury of CL Block