Archive for the ‘Uttam Kumar’ Category

 

STREE features the two titans of Bangla cinema in a complex tale of unrequited love and trust, and frightening consequences of leading a life of debauchery. At some level, it echoes the Tagore story NOSHTO NEER (made into CHARULATA by Satyajit Ray)  where the heroine Mrinmoyee (Arati Bhattacharjee) resembles Charulata in that she is married to an aristocratic household and a hard-drinking husband (Uttam Kumar) who has no time for her. This becomes the pretext for the amorous relationship to flower with her ex-lover Sitapati (Soumitro Chattopadhyay) when they accidently meet once again.  At another level, the film is a sort of SAHEB, BIWI & GHULAM, the powerful Bimal Mitra story about feudal extravagance and decadence.

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Towards the end, when Soumitro finally walks out of the house, he looks back once in a sort of homage to the concluding scene in Mrinal Sen’s AKASH KUSUM. There’re several wonderful songs (‘Tomader konta asol konta nokol tomra nijey jano na … & others), fine performances by the lead cast (Soumitro, Uttam, Arati) & the supporting cast (Tarun Kumar, Subrata Chatterjee, Jahar Roy).

All in all, quite an absorbing fare directed by Salil Dutta.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

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PONKHIRAJ narrates the tale of three struggling friends – Sankar (Soumitro Chattopadhyay), Robi (Samit Bhanja) & Sunil (Santu Mukherjee). They run a garage – International Motor works in an area infested by evil persons like Mota Ghosh (Utpal Dutt) and others who are involved in a racket that steal and deal in cars.

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The film echoes influences of several Bengali films – from Tapan Sinha’s APANJAN to Ritwik Ghatak’s AJANTRIK to the much later Sandip Ray film UTTARON based on a Satyajit Ray story about the inability of the weaker section of society to purchase expensive medicines.
It is a sheer pleasure to watch the two greats of Bengali cinema, Soumitro Chattopadhyay and Uttam Kumar, in top form in the film ably supported by the strong cast of Utpal Dutt, Samit Bhanja, Santu Mukhopadhyay, Tarun Kumar and others. There’s Chinmoy Roy for comic relief.
The film mirrors the relentless fight that ensues between the evil and the righteous. When Soumitro says “Ami struggle korte chai, ami criminal hote chai na…” you feel the genuineness of the utterance. Robi is a gifted singer and rescues small child from unscrupulous employers. There’re moments of love and tenderness involving the protagonist with fine songs pictured effectively. Issues of child labor and need of education for such children are highlighted.
There’s murder and intrigue and much else in this watchable mainstream Bengali film. The end provides the director’s comment on his film – “Ei osamajik manush gulo ke amra jeno grina na kori” (We should not hate these unsocial elements of society). The film was directed by Pijush Bose.
Rating: 3.6 out of 5

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Directed by Tapan Sinha, the film deals with the struggles and hardship of the poor in this ruthless world. It boasts of an impressive star cast that includes Uttam Kumar, Manju Dey, Nirmal Kumar, Sabitri Chatterjee, Kanu Bandopadhyay, Jahar Roy, Tulsi Chakraborty, Shyam Laha, Chabi Biswas and others.
A professor (Uttam Kumar) and his wife (Manju Dey) comes to live as tenants in the house of one Kanhali-babu (Kanu Bandopadhyay). They develop a soft corner for Krishna, the daughter of the landlord (Sabitri Chaterjee). Kanhali-babu eked out a livelihood from the rent that his house fetched. He was a strict father, and his daughter had no independence of her own.
Krishna used to pass on the nutritious portion of her diet surreptitiously to her father and subsisted on the remnants. The professor’s wife discovers it and replenishes her diet sparing something for her from their meal. Kanhali-babu’s nagging trait infuriates Bhola (Johar Roy), the Professor’s servant.
Krishna is in love with a certain gentleman (Nirmal Kumar) but her father has arranged her marriage to a retarded man in lieu of a paltry sum of money. After a lot of melodrama, Krishna unites with her paramour (Nirmal Kumar).
The film doesn’t rise to any great heights, but nonetheless remain watchable. Towards the end Krishna suddenly discovers that beneath the stern exterior, Kanhali-babu was a very caring father and had stashed away huge wealth in order to marry off his daughter in grand style. Why then did Kanhali-babu tried to marry off Krishna by accepting a paltry amount from the bridegroom’s family. Director sir, can you explain? ….
23.11.02

It is not too often that a film hit you hard when you least expect it becaue the director isn’t considered in the league of the most vaunted names in Bengali cinema. So, it was a pleasant pleasure to be bowled over on a recent viewing of the film KHOKABABUR PROTYABORTON , one of the most humanist and cruelest stories from the pen of Rabindranath Tagore.

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The tale of a loyal servant Raicharran (Uttam Kumar) whose slight negligence led to the death of the son of his employer (Asit Baran) and how after the birth of his own son raises him as if he is a reincarnation of the deceased boy , and finally returning him to his employer claiming he had stolen him from them earlier constitute the storyline.
Uttam Kumar proves his versatality and acts brilliantly. Dipti Roy, Tulsi Chakraborty & Sova Sen comprise the supporting cast. The film is directed by Agradoot.
Rating: 4.1 out of 5

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SAREY CHUATTOR is a hilarious comedy that retains its magic even to this day. The film is directed by Nirmal Dey, and based on a story by Bijon Bhattacharyya.
The film basically revolves around an uproar caused by a new romantic development between two boarders in a traditional boarding house with several inmates. It boasts of a stellar cast comprising Tulsi Chakraborty in a central role as caretaker/manager of the boarding. The other main actors include the most popular romantic pair of Bengali cinema – Uttam and Suchitra. The evergreen Bhanu Bandopadhyay too has a substantial role in the film. A number of prominent singers like Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, Shyamal Mitra and others have minor roles as inmates of the boarding house. The supporting cast includes Padda Debi, Haridhan Bannerjee and others.
The film has terrific songs – a zesty number like “Amar a joubon…” contrasts with a divinely Dhananjopy Bhattacharjee solo “A maaya to proboncho moy …” There are many scenes that evokes spontaneous laughter and the mistaken epistle episode involving Tulsi Chakraborty and Molina Devi is a personal favourite. There are many funny sequences like the one where Suchitra was offering sweets to Bhanu in her room, and two inmates from a floor below kept pestering them and when the window was shut on their face, they break into an impromptu song …
Rating: 3.8 out of 5

 

THANA THEKE AASCHI was directed by Hiren Nag. The film featured Uttam Kumar, Madhabi Mukherjee, Kamal Mitra, Chaya Devi, Anjana Bhowmick, Dilip Mukherjee and others.

The film employed an innovate technique of extracting confession from several characters of a family who move around in society as respectable citizens but have skeletons in their closet. In fact, the patriarch was shown contesting the elections…

The confessions tumble out when a sub-inspector Tinkori Halder (Uttam Kumar) visits the house of Kamal Mitra to interrogate suspects over a suicide committed by a lady (Madhabi Mukherjee) who was known to the family…

At its core, the film is similar to Ritwik Ghatak’s MEGHE DHAKA TARA. In both these films the female protagonist is central to the narrative and is depicted to having been exploited in their lives at a scale that is beyond the level of endurance.

The film has prompted a remake with the same name a few years back. In that film made competently Sabyasachi Chakraborty played the role of Uttam Kumar. Others in the cast in the remake included Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Paoli Dam and others.

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

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Watching JATUGRIHO one is likely to discover the chemistry between Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti Devi. Quite a few scenes in the film attest this fact. The pair also featured in other notable films like SUILI BARI, BICHARAK and others.
In the film the director Tapan Sinha seem to suggest that children are central to successful marriages and childless couples are doomed. I say this because I felt the director was trying to convey exactly this through the character of Anil Chatterjee and his family (Wife Kajal Chatterjee and kids) who inspite of financial hardship were shown to be happy with their lives singing Tagore songs and enjoying the charms of quotidian life.
I found thematic similarity of the film with the much later Rituparno Ghosh film ASOOKH. In both these films relationship crumble because the disease exist somewhere in the mind of their protagonist. The central text of infertility being the reason for the woman to walk out of the marriage is inconceivable in this age and times. Else all childless couples would have found their marriage on the rocks.
Interestingly the director never suggests adoption as a means to fill the void. Are we so obsessed that our progeny have to share our bloodline? The supporting cast includes Bikash Roy and others. The film was based on a story by Subodh Ghosh.

Rating; 3.5 out of 5

PS The writer Subodh Ghosh had once worked as a bus conductor, and thereafter as a truck driver to make end’s meet before making his marks as a writer whose stories have been the base of many timeless classic movies.