(Last Updated on : 27/04/2012)
Bengali films have contributed immensely to Indian cinema. The Bengali film industry has is quite elite and more artistically inclined than the other cinema fares in India. With directors like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak contributing to its development this film industry was much revered for its quality and outstanding actors.
Several Bengali actors have contributed in making the film industry a notable one amongst the audience. In the earlier times it was Pramathesh Chandra Barua
`s films that were popular with the audience. He teamed up with Kanan Devi to deliver several quality films. Along with Pramathesh Chandra Barua it was Debaki Bose
who also contributed to the Bengali films. PC Barua was also an actor. Apart from Devdas
he has also acted in movies like, Charitraheen, Grihadaha, Aparadhi, Mukti and others.
got the first opportunity to act in a silent movie in 1926, Jaideb. In 1931 Jorboraat released in which she was the leading lady. Later she was often paired with PC Barua or KL Saigal
. The lady also used to sing for her own films. In 1976 she received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
The other stalwarts of Bengali Cinema are Chhaya Devi
and Chhabi Biswas
. In 1936, Chhabi Biswas acted in his first film, Annapurnar Mandir. The film was directed by Tinkari Chakraborty and the actor played the role of Bishu, the husband of the heroine. He was also associated with Bengali Theatres and in no time became a popular actor of the silver screen. His major films include Chokher Bali (1937), Nimai Sannyas (1940), Pratisruti (1941) and Nartaki (1940). Other films such as Ashok (1942), Parineeta (1942), Dwanda (1943), Matir Ghar (1944), Dui Purush (1945), Biraj Bou (1946) and Mandana (1950) are proofs to his sharp histrionic skills.
But probably the two roles that immortalized him were Tapan Sinha`s screen adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore
`s Kabuliwala and Satyajit Ray`s Jalsaghar. The ultimate homage was paid by Ray himself when he said, "I doubt if I could ever make the film Jalsaghar
without an actor of the caliber of Chhabibabu. Probably not. Biswambhar Roy`s pride and recklessness, his passionate love for music and his obsessive love for his only son and finally the tragic downfall - only a genius like him could portray these myriad emotions."
What followed Jalsaghar was another two movies with Ray, Devi and Kanchanjungha.
Chhaya Devi, on the other hand, started off with Sansar. A powerhouse performer the actress is one of the most revered actots of Bengali celluloid. With an amazing screen presence she has acted in over 150 Bengali films. Her famed films include Tapan Sinha`s Nirjan Saikate (1963), Hatey Bazarey (1967) and Apanjan (1968). She also acted in early Mrinal Sen
films like Raat Bhore (1956) and Abasheshe (1962).
Some of her other prominent films include Abhinetri (1940), Samadhan (1943), Era Bator Sur (1955) in Assamese, Saptapadi (1961), Saat Pake Bandha (1963), Uttar Falguni (1963), Arohi (1964), Antony Firingee (1967), Arundathi Devi`s Padi Pishir Barmi Baksha (1972) and Alaap (1977).
The name, Uttam Kumar
, is probably synonymous with the history of Bengali Cinema
. He was the hero in every sense of the term. His charismatic personality has hypnotized the audience for years. There have been many lead actors in Bengali cinema but no one could match the magic of Uttam Kumar. His first film was Drishtidaan directed by Nitin Bose. But the film that brought him into focus was Shaare Chuattor (1953). in this film he was for the first time paired opposite Suchitra Sen. The duo went onto be paired again and again to deliver hits like Chawa Pawa, Sagarika, Pathe Holo Deri, Harano Sur, Ora Thaake Odhare, Indrani, Grihadaha, Saptapadi, Bipasha, Rajlakshmi O Srikanta and several others. He had also teamed up with Supriya Choudhury for films, such as, Jeevan Mrityu and several others. He has also worked with Sabitri Chatterjee
in comedy films like Dhonni Meye and Mouchak.
Uttam Kumar`s one of the best films was with Satyajit Ray in Nayak and who could forget Byomkesh Bakshi in Chiriyakhana! The latter won him the Best Actor award. Another film that deserves mention is Khokababur Protyaborton. His last film was a comedy, Ogo Bodhu Sundari. He died in 1959. The best homage is once again paid by Satyajit Ray when he remarked, "It is the demise of a leading light of the Bengali film industry…There isn`t - there won`t be another hero like him."
was one of the most gifted actors in Bengali cinema. He played the character roles in many films such as Kanchenjungha, Harano Sur, Saat Paake Badha and others.
Another Bengali actor who deserves special mention is Utpal Dutta
. Hailing from theatre his acting capabilities were indisputable. He is a versatile actor who could perform in serious vein, comic role and as a villain.
There were certain actors in Bengali cinema who were regular in Satyajit Ray films. One of them is Soumitra Chatterjee
. His histrionic skill is unquestionable. Some of the landmark movies in Bengali are attributed to Soumitra Chatterjee. He was first introduced by Satyajit Ray in his film Teen Kanya
. Then Charulata
and Apur Sansar
followed with Sharmila Tagore. Some of the memorable films of this actor are Jhinder Bandi (as an anti hero), Saat Paake Badha with Suchitra Sen
, Aakash Kusum, Basanta Bilap, Abhijaan, Joy Baba Felunath, Sonar Kella
, Aranyer Din Ratri
, Teen Bhubaner Paare, Ghare Baire, Parineeta, Ganadevata, Ashani Sanket, Devdas and several others. Soumitra Chatterjee is still going strong and has received National Award in 2008 for Podokhep.
Other prominent Bengali film personalities, both old and contemporary, include the following:
||Dhirendra Nath Ganguly
||Tota Roy Choudhury