(Last Updated on : 15/05/2018)
Bengali cinema has its own importance in the Indian film
industry. It comprises talented directors
, cameramen, music directors
and other technicians. Bengali cinema goes through a lot of experiments before its execution. It is rich with variety of subject matter.
History of Bengali Cinema
The history of Bengali cinema dated back to those days when the first bioscope was introduced in Kolkata
in 1980. It has come along a long way since its inception. Initially it was stage actors who shouldered the responsibility of establishing the Bengali film industry successfully. It flourished first in Hiralal Sen's silent movie, Billwamangal released in 1919 produced by the Madan Theatre Company of Calcutta. After six years the first Indian feature film Raja Harish Chandra was released. The Talkies began in early 1930s. Dena Paona is first Bengali cinema as a talkie in 1931.
With the coming of the talkies in the early 30s, new studios became prominent in Bengal
and most famous being Birendranath Sircar
s New Theatres Ltd. which was established in 1930. New Theatres landmark films were Debaki Bose
s Chandidas (1932), Pramathes Barua
s Debdas (1935) and Mukti (1937) and Nitin Bose
s President (1937). Pankaj Kumar Mallick, music director at New Theatres, first made use of Rabindra Sangeet
in Baruas Mukti. The studio created singing stars like Umasashi, Kananbala and K.L. Saigal
. In the 50s, Bengali cinema also produced its most iconic star duo, Uttam Kumar
and Suchitra Sen
. Uttam Kumar remained Bengali cinemas top hero for over two decades and his death on 24th July 1980 almost brought the Bengali industry to a standstill. Kanon Devi was considered to be the earliest actress in Bengali cinema. Later on Savitri Chaterjee, Madhavi Mukherjee, Supriya Devi
, Sharmila Tagore
are note worthy. After them a group of very talented, versatile actresses came and Deboshree Roy
topped the list. Indrani Halder, Shatabdi Roy, Rituparna Sengupta
did well in contributing much to the Bengali cinema.
The best-known event of the 50s Bengali cinema is nonetheless Satyajit Ray
s Pather Panchali
which released in 1955 and won "Best Human Document" at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. Pather Panchali was appreciated by filmgoers and critics alike, as was Apur Sansar, the third film of Rays Apu trilogy, which had a silver jubilee in Kolkata. Apur Sansar
introduced Soumitra Chatterjee
, who along with Uttam Kumar became Bengali cinemas top male star, and also worked in Rays classics like Charulata
(1964). Ray worked with Uttam Kumar in Nayak (1966), a film supposedly inspired by Uttams iconic recognition. Jalsaghar (1958), Ajantrik (1958), Neel Akasher Neechey (1959), Devdas (1955), Devi (1960), Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), the Calcutta trilogies (1971-1976), etc are also note worthy.
Satyajit Rays contemporary Ritwik Ghatak
was an influential member of the Indian Peoples Theatre Association and spearheaded the more political avant-garde cinema. In the 70s, Mrinal Sen
s films depicted the contemporary social turmoil and the rise of a drastic politics in West Bengal. Sens Akaler Sandhane recreates the 1943 Bengal famine, won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 1981. In the same year, Aparna Sen
made her first film 36 Chowringhee Lane
, becoming best known as a feminist filmmaker with Paroma (1985).
Satyajit Ray received an Oscar for his lifetimes work days before his death on 23rd April 1992. It marked the end of an era, but the 90s also saw the rise of a young director in the Ray mould- Rituparno Ghosh
, whose films returned urban middle-class audiences to Bengali cinema.
Modern Era of Bengali Cinema
The revitalization of Bengali cinema dates from the rise of directors such as Rituparno Ghosh, Aparna Sen and Gautam Ghose
. Rituparno made his first film Hirer Angti in 1992 and dominated Bengali cinema until his death in 2013, winning several national awards for films like Unishe April, Dahan and Utsab. Aparna Sen made her directorial debut in 1981 with the internationally lauded 36 Chowringhee Lane, which looked at the lives of Anglo-Indians living in Kolkata. Her later films have also been celebrated: Paromitar Ek Din, Mr and Mrs Iyer
, 15 Park Avenue, The Japanese Wife, Goynar Baksho, etc. Gautam Ghose is best known for award-winning films like Dakhal, Paar, Padma Nadir Majhi and Abar Aranye.
In recent years, a younger generation of Bengali directors have come to the fore. Successful Bengali films are getting their Hindi
remakes in Bollywood
(Bela Seshe, Praktan, Rajkahini). Some of the directors who have gained success in recent years are Anik Dutta, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Dhaananjoy Mandal, Anjan Dutta
, Arindam Sil, Aditya Vikram Sengupta, Indranil Roychowdhury, Kaushik Ganguly
, Kamaleswar Mukherjee, Mainak Bhoumik, Srijit Mukherji
, Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee (who have made several films as a duo).Bengali directors who have found artistic and commercial success in contemporary Hindi films are: Anurag Basu
, Ayan Mukerji, Dibakar Banerjee
, Pradeep Sarkar, Shoojit Sircar and Sujoy Ghosh.
Awards of Bengali Cinema
The National Film Award
for Best Feature Film in Bengali is one of the National Film Awards presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals. Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards is the oldest Association of Film critics in India, founded in 1937. Anandalok Awards is a ceremony which is one of the most prominent film events given for Bengali cinema in India. Kalakar Awards is the ceremony recognized as another topmost awards ceremony of Bengali cinema. Tellysamman Awards is organized by Sangbad Pratidin, a Kolkata based Bengali daily. Zee Bangla Gourab Somman Awards are designed for the people by the people of Bengal.