Archive for the ‘Bangla 1960-70’ Category


PIPASA was based on a story by Banophool. The film was directed by Tarun Mazumdar, music by Hemant Kumarand featured Sandhya Roy, Basant Choudhury, Anup Kumar, Pahari Sanyal, Anuva Gupta , Bhanu Bandopadhyay and others.

It is a tale of struggle at reformation for a courtesan (Sandhya Roy), Roshan Bai, when she gets enchanted with a scholarly Brahmin man (Basant Choudhury). The film outlines a new dimension of the courtesan with a golden heart (in contrast to Chandramukhi in Sarat Chaterji’s Devdas). While ‘All is fair in Love and Air’ may have been the guiding proinciple for cupid to bloom, that an inevitable fued would result when skeletons tumble out of closet, is a foregone conclusion. The two main actors, Sandhya Roy and Basant Choudhury, perform wonderfully in their roles. Anup Kumar is chilling in a negative character. The rest of the supporting cast, Pahari Sanyal and Bhanau Bandopadhyay perform remarkably well, especially Bhanu for some of the lighter moments of the film. The songs have a classical strain and a Rabindrasangeet ‘alok er jhorna dharey duliye dao…’ have been featured in the film.

Watching the film four decades later, one feels that the grip of prevalent orthodoxy in those times in society hindred the chances of a fallen woman to gain acceptance in a so called respectable league. While directors like V. Shantaram were making films on reforming criminals (Do Ankhen Barah Haath) , such exercises on disreputable woman was being ignored.

Rating: 3 out of 5


There is a striking similarity in Ray’s KAPURUSH (a 1965 film) with the debut film APOROOPA (1982) directed by the renowned Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua. The Ray film featured Soumitro Chattopadhyay and Madhabi Mukherjee, while the Barua film had Biju Phukan and Suhasini Mulay in the lead roles. In both the films the lead player plays ex-lovers where the female lead is married to a tea estate manager.
The ex-lovers meet after a long hiatus via the tea estate manager who initially befriends the male lead. The similarity ends here. While the Barua film had a courageous lover, the one in the Ray film was a Kapurush (weakling). The Ray film was based on a story by Premendra Mitra.

Rating: 3 out of 5

On a repeat viewing of MAHANAGAR, I felt that the strong message that Ray wanted to convey through the character of the protagonist Arati Mazumdar (  Madhabi Mukherjee) – her resignation from the job (as a protest against injustice towards a colleague) that was the sole bread winner for the large family is completely lost in our society. All of us who are salaried and work for a living are witness to gross injustices in our workplaces. Do we ever think about the need to leave the present employment and search for the ‘job where things are fair’? We all know that such jobs doesn’t exist in our country and we tend to compromise to adapt to prevailing norms and trends…even Ray was aware of the changing times as his last works – GANASHATRU & SHAKHA PROSAKHA spoke a great deal about decay and vice …

Asi Te Asio Na

A neglected octogenarian (Bhanu Bandopadhyay) stumbles upon a miraculous discovery…Fed up with the ill-treatment meted out to him and his wife (Ruma Guha Thakurta) by his children, he longs for an escape from his dreary existence. Accidentally, he even finds a solution to all of his woes. He discovers a pond where on taking a dip one regains his youth. When he transforms into a handsome young man, many were forced to accept the miracle as real. Quite predictably, all hell breaks loose …

From a chemist keen to investigate the composition of the water in the pond, senior officers in the Govt. keen to cash on its benefits, the change in the behavior of the children and their wives towards the man, sundry characters trying to make the most of the situation – everything adds up to make this an absolutely laugh riot.

Bhanu Bandopadhyay and Robi Ghosh deliver sterling performances. The supporting cast which includes Ruma Guha Thakurta, Kamal Mitra, Renuka, Asit Baran, Tarun Kumar, Shyam Laha and others perform creditably.

Does Bhanu forever remain young? Could such a miracle really have taken place? Watch the film to know the answers …one of the most hilarious Bengali films ever IMHO.


The year 1965-66 is an interesting phase for Bengali cinema in terms of experimentation with the medium. Mrinal Sen’s AKASH KUSUM (1965), Tapan Sinha’s GALPO HALEO SATTI (1966) and Satyajit Ray’s NAYAK (1966) showcases the penchant of these titans to incorporate new devices into the narrative. In this Ray work, one sees use of surrealism in abundant measure – the scene of the actor (Uttam Kumar) drowning in a pile of money or the sequence of the seductive actress (Anjana Bhowmick) haunting the actor among others …


There is also a commonality of NAYAK with the much later film PRAKTAN (2016), exactly fifty years after the first was made, in that both these films are based entirely on a rail travel.

The film narrates the compromises an actor has to make to scale heights of popularity and the regimentation binding him to keep it going. Just see the sequence where the actor’s friend (Premansu Bose) takes him to address a group of agitating workers in his company to provide a morale booster and the actor doesn’t accede to the request of his good friend.

The aspect of the mega-star with a feet of clay also found echo in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s GUDDI (1971)..

Rating: 3.9 out of 5



Image result for mahanagar movie

MAHANAGAR was based on a story by Narendranath Mitra. The core theme of the disquiet caused when a Bengali homely lady Arati Mazumdar (Madhabi Mukherjee) steps out of her secluded domestic existence into the working world have been deftly portrayed by the director. I think Mrinal Sen’s PUNASCHO in the Sixties also dealt with the same theme but as per latest reports available that film is completely lost to filmgoers as no print of that film exists today.
Some of the sequences in the film are truly memorable:
The scene where Madhabi presses her first earning against herself and proceeds to watch her in an adjacent mirror
• The Anglo woman gifts Madhabi a lipstick and shows her how to apply it
• “Was he your boyfriend”? asks her Anglo colleague Madhabi points to Vermillion on her forehead
“Okay. Your husband.”
“Do you know this ring?” her Anglo friend queried “This means that I am married.” ( A beautiful scene on manifestation of marital status in two cultures)
The effect of the lady walking out of the orthodox household into the professional world on the husband (Anil Chatterjee) and the family can be summarized in the following dialogues/scenes that transpired in the film
“Kaaje amay chinte parbe na” (Madhabi) “Barite Chinte parbo to” (Anil Chatterjee)
• “Bouma, Sales girl?” (Anil Chatterjee’s father)
• “Taka thaklai Sansar a shanti thake na Baba aaj 3/2 maas amar sathe katha bole na.” (Anil Chaterjee talks of his equation with his father)
• The first day Madhabi goes to work, her child runs away from her as a protest

The weakness of the film: The forced situations where husband loses his job and is dependent on Madhabi’s job. The ending also appeared filmic to me. I, for one, can’t throw away job because of injustice being meted out to a colleague. You would agree that Arati’s of the world wouldn’t be able to keep any job in present day corruption ridden India.
The most interesting character to me was the patriarch – the father of Anil Chatterjee who represented the plight of retired teachers in the country
“jemon gorbo bodh kori, temon hingse hoi” (talking about his students)
• “Bhagwan er bidhan e kothai jeno gondogol royeche” (complaining about God’s injustice towards his ilk)
• “Amar bhoro obhab” (The old man cries and tells his eye specialist student ) “Chasma ta hobe amar Gurudakhina” (The student replies thusly)
• “sei jug aar ei jug ek noye” (Anil Chatterjee to his father)

There’re other sequences that characterize social milieu of that era
• Madhabi goes to sell knitting machines and start a conversation with prospective customers discussing personal problems – the ability of Bongs to start conversation with complete strangers
“Ei sob parar thakar anondo je nijeder radio kinte hoy na” (Anil Chaterjee tells his wife)
The supporting cast included Jaya Bhaduri, Haradhan Bannerjee and others.
Rating: 4 out of 5


Tapan Sinha’s ATITHI bears a striking resemblance to Jatrik-directed PALATAK.  In both the films the protagonist is a wanderer intermittently escaping the bindings of family life and setting off to discover new people and places. The only difference is that the protagonist Tara in ATITHI is a small boy (played by actor Partha)  whereas in PALATAK it was a grown up man (Anoop Kumar).

Watching a film six decades after it was made in poor print quality reinforces the need to restore such classic films for posterity. ATITHI has a few lilting flute tunes of Tagore composition.

ATITHI takes us back to a world where a sense of the wonder lurked in the child about the unknown. They found joy and happiness in the simple charms that life offered – taking a dip in the village pond or gaping at the antics of the performer of a circus or Jatra (a kind of theatre in Bengal). This is one of the biggest losses mankind has suffered in the wake of the onslaught of 24×7 TV Channels and the Internet. That child in us with curiosity about the most mundane of things is now truly dead.

Ajitesh Bandopadhyay and Smriti Sinha act in supporting roles.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5


AHWAN narrates the tale of one Bimol (Anil Chaterjee) who returns to his native village after several years. He had left his village to pursue higher education in Kolkata.

After his initial comeback,  he began dividing his time between his village and Kolkata where he worked. He befriends an elderly Muslim lady in the village who is alone and has no one to look after her. A strong bond develops between her and Bimol. A touching scene is when she arrives to see an ailing Bimol after bathing herself in ‘Gangajaal’ (water of river Ganga) on a cold wintry night because being a Muslim she wasn’t encouraged inside homes of orthodox Hindu families.

There is also a triangular romantic angle where Bimol is caught between an urbane lady (Lily Chakraborty) and the rural belle (Sandhya Roy). Watch the film to find out what happens…

The film is directed by Arabinda Mukhopadhyay and based on a powerful story of Hindu Muslim amity and differences by Bhibuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay. The supporting cast includes Premanshu Bose, Anoop Kumar and others.

Rating: 3.7 out of 5


“baare baare ami pother taanei
poth ke korechhi ghor
taai ami jajabor …”

PALATAK is directed by Jatrik based on a story by Manoj Basu. The film narrates the tale of a man (Anup Kumar in a brilliant performance) bitten by wanderlust. Inspite of the fact that he hailed from a rich Zamindari family and could have lived in comfort, his wanderlust took him to newer and different places where he encountered new people and mingled with their lives. He gets married to a woman (Sandhya Roy) and returns home to his family with his wife. Could conjugal life curb his passion for travelling? The film could have been edited for greater effect.

List of memorable songs from the film:

  1. Mon je amar kemon kemon kore …
  2. Jibon pur er pathik re bhai …
  3. Krishna kalo aadhar kalo …
  4. Aha re bidhi go tor leela bhoja daay …

The supporting cast includes Asit Baran, Bharati Devi, Jahar Ganguly, Jahar Ray, Robi Ghosh, Anuva Gupta, Ruma Guha Thakurtha and others. The film is produced by V. Shantaram.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

TEEN BHUBANER PAARE is a heart warming romantic tale. Montu (Soumitro Chaterjee) is a not too educated local boy who works in a factory, and spends the evening boozing with his friends. He gets attracted to a beautiful school teacher (Tanuja) who has recently moved into the neighborhood. Love blooms in spite of family opposition to the relationship. They get married…

The film makes a case for continuing Adult education through the character of Montu being forced by his wife to study further and he manages to complete higher degrees and become a Professor in the University.

Disruptive forces in their conjugal bliss comes in the form of old friends of Montu invading their house regularly for adda sessions, and a lonely beautiful rich student (Sumita Sanyal) of Prof. Montu in the University. Watch the film to know what happens …the film has a certain mood and accomplished performances by the lead cast. The supporting cast includes Tarun Kumar, Robi Ghosh, Padda Devi, Kamal Mitra and others. The film contains two popular songs Jeevan a ki pabona & Hoyto Tomar e jonno as bonus.

Rating: 3 out of 5