(Last Updated on : 17/06/2011)
The contribution of Bengali filmmakers in Indian cinema is quite significant. Bengali film directors created that are films grander and artistically superior. Earlier, directors like Mrinal Sen
, who was honoured the French distinction of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and Satyajit Ray
, with an Academy Honorary Award, the Bharat Ratna
and Legion of Honor awards under his belt, have defined and revitalised cinema in Bengal and taken it to great new heights.
The films directed and shot, by Nemai Ghosh, heralds the tradition of Bengali humanistic realism. Chhinamul (1950), a poignant melodrama is one of the milestones in Bengali cinema. Hemen Gupta, director of both Bengali and Hindi films, is also worth mentioning. Another classic figure of commercial movies is Sailajananda Mukherjee. Out of the 15 films that he created, Shahar Theke Dooray and Mane Na Mana are most renowned. Asit Sen, who has shot films in Bengali and Hindi, is simultaneously influenced by his fellow Bengali Bimal Roy, Hollywood and the Bengal humanistic novel. He gave the beautiful Suchitra Sen
one of her memorable roles in Deep Jele Jaaye.
The work of Tapan Sinha
is prolific and is situated between commercial ingredients and thematic and technical variety. Anjaan Choudhary was one of the filmmakers who brought the public of Bengal back to cinema halls. His Kabuliwala was based on a short story by Rabindranath Tagore
. His 1962 film, Hansuli Banker Upkatha, showed the mastery in the tradition displayed by Satyajit Ray
in which popular melodies play an important part. His other films include Atithi, Apanjan, Bancharamer Bagan, Antardhaan, and Wheelchair.
is also one among the last commercial filmmakers to have continued to link with quality Bengali cinema of the period from 1930s to the 1950s. Indeed he stands out as a solid director capable of meeting the expectations of his public, the middle classes. His adolescent romances like Balika Badhu and Dadar Kirti entertained the masses. He showed that he could handle more serious subjects with Sansar Simantey (1975), an endearing and realistic story about love between a prostitute and a thief.
Satyajit Ray literally revolutionised the way Bengali films were made. Many of his films had their sources in the Bengali literature. His genre filmmaking was in the league of the legendary filmmakers like Akira Kurosava. Satyajit Ray gifted the Bengali cinema industry with some of its most gifted performers. Another director, Ritwik Ghatak
will be remembered for his truly offbeat masterpieces. This genius was unnoticed, even ignored and ultimately met a tragic end. But his films have survived and even today they compel the audiences to ponder.
Another outstanding filmmaker is Nirmal Dey. He tried to bring about a fusion between the realism of the pre War-period and the expectations of the entertainment of the urban people. Mrinal Sen films, on the other hand, deal with contemporary issues. A veteran director, he is known for his sensitive and humane portrayals. Nabyendu Chatterjee is closer to the art house cinema and has made 10 feature films to date. Atmaja, Aaj Kal Porshur Galpo, Parashuramer Kuthar, Shilpi, Sauda and others were his creations.
Amongst the recent filmmakers, Rituparno Ghosh
, Buddhadeb Dasgupta
, Gautam Ghose
, Aparna Sen
, Anjan Dutta
, Sandip Ray, deserve special mention. They are not only churning out great masterpieces that reflect the current state conditions of the people of Bengal, but are also making artistically superior films that are being appreciated in international and national platforms. Aparna Sen is an actor turned director who had made several interesting films in Bengali. These include Paroma, Paromitar Ek Din, 15 Park Avenue and The Japanese wife
Since the 2000s, a new breed of Directors like Sekhar Das, Atanu Ghosh, Raj Chakrobarty, Arin Paul, Riingo, Srijit Mukherjee, have emerged and improved the state of Bengali commercial cinema. Although they don`t portray themes of parallel films, but they make a great connection with the rural audience, churning out box office hits.
Qaushiq Mukherjee, popularly known as Q, is another director who is representing Bengali cinema to international audiences. His latest film, Gandu (2010), has been shown at Yale University, and has also been premiered at the 2010 South Asian International Film Festival. The film was also screened at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festivals.