(Last Updated on : 04/06/2013)
Supriya Devi also known as Supriya Choudhury was born on 8 January 1935 and is a Bengali cinema actress. She has been acting in Bengali cinemas for more than 50 years. Supriya Devi is lovingly called as Krishna and nickname Benu Di. Supriya Devi was born in Michkina, Myanmar or Burma. Her father was a well-known lawyer Gopal Chandra Banerjee. Her mother Kiranbala Devi was a housewife keenly involved in music and dance.
Early Life of Supriya Devi
Supriya Devi's debut in acting took place when she was seven-year-old, her father encouraged her to play two roles in two plays directed by him. Supriya Devi herself was a talented dancer since her childhood for which she received an award from Thakin Nu, the then Prime Minister of Burma, who was moved by one of her dance recitals. During World War II, Supriya Devi's family settled in the southern part of Calcutta. In Calcutta, she started afresh with her dance lessons and took vigorous training under Guru Muruthappan Pillai and later under Guru Prahlad Das.
Career of Supriya Devi
Supriya Devi made her screen debut as an adult in 1952 in a film called Nagpash. The film however was never released and she came up with her second film Basu Parivar (1952). This film was a family drama that also was an early smash hit for the stalwart actor Uttam Kumar
, that Supriya Devi made her mark. In this film, she played Uttam Kumar's sister. In the very same year, she had two more releases Prarthana and Madhurati both of which were moderately popular. These films steadfastly established her as one of the intensifying stars of Bengali film industry. She was the first actress of the Bengali cinema who projected a visibly sensual screen image blending it with her dramatic skills.
Popular works of Supriya Devi
Shonar Harin (1959) saw Supriya Devi played opposite Uttam Kumar. The two of them did several films together including Uttar Megh (1960), Shuno Baro Nari (1962) - Supriya played the character of a sex-worker in a film too. Kaal Tumi Aleya (1965), Bilambit Laya (1970), Ban Palashir Padaboli (1973), Sanyasi Raja (1975), Bhola Moira (1977) and Dui Purush (1978) are some of the most popular films of Bengali of all times. Even today, these films are screened regularly on various television channels and receive quite high TRPs. Majority of Uttam's films with Supriya too were huge successes at the box.
Supriya's greatest performance is till date considered being in the film Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), the Ritwik Ghatak
classic. This film showed Supriya Devi's immense histrionic abilities. She played the role of Neeta, a refugee girl who was struggling for a better lifestyle in the face of massive odds. Her performance in this film was absolutely stunning and is still referred to one of the most memorable performances ever, not just in Bengali Cinema but also in the history of Indian Cinema. Ghatak also directed Supriya Devi in Komal Gandhar (1961), where again she played the role of a refugee from previous East Pakistan and again received major critical acclaim.
Supriya Devi acted in a few Hindi films too like Aap ki Parchhaiyan (1964) opposite Dharmendra
and Door Gagan ki Chhaon Mein (1964) along with Kishore Kumar
but her Hindi films were not too successful. However she continued to rule the screen in Bengali Cinema. In 1968 she was awarded with the prestigious Bengal Film Journalist Association (BFJA) Award for her role in Teen Adhyay. She was also conferred with the BFJA award for the best Supporting Actress for her role in the film Chinnapatra (1972).
Supriya Devi smoothly progressed from the glamour girl image to mother or mother-in-law roles in the late 1980s, playing these cameo roles with great gusto. She had substantial roles in smash hit films like Mejo Bou, Chhotto Bou, and Maar Shapath. The boom in vernacular television rejuvenated Supriya Devi's career and her performance in the chartbuster mega-serial Janani that won her many new fans. In 2007, she appeared in Mira Nair's The Namesake as Ashima's grandmother. In 2009, he acted in Anjan Dutta
's Madly Bangali too.
Other than films, Supriya Devi has also acted in a few Bengali commercial theatrical productions. The majority of her stage appearances were staged at Biswaroopa Theatre in North Calcutta. In recent years she is also seen in the Jatra circuit. Her immense popularity even to this day is the evidence of her numerous commercials endorsing wide range of products like mustard oil, saris and cooking masalas.
Other than acting skills, Supriya Devi is also well versed with her culinary skills. She utilized her talents to the utmost in her television cookery show Benudir Rannaghar (1998-2002) meaning Benudi's Kitchen. This afternoon show was immensely popular among the young housewives and most of them developed their skills in cooking traditional Bengali cuisines under the expert and lively guidance of their beloved 'Benudi' alias Supriya Devi. Supriya Devi was one of the brightest stars in her age and still remains a much admired and prized celebrity even today.