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Tribute to Bimal Roy

The visionary director

In Memoriam

Published : Thursday, 13 July, 2017 at 12:00 AM  Count : 562
Samirah Tabassum

The visionary director

The visionary director

Bimal Roy, the silent master of Indian cinema, mostly known as a film director simultaneously a writer, producer and an outstanding cinematographer of the Bollywood's golden age. He crafted cinema so astoundingly that each of his film increased standard of the film industry.
Born to a landlord family in Suapur, Dacca (now Dhaka) Bimal Roy marked himself as an important figure of the Indian cinema and earned the reputation of a perfectionist. He entered the film industry as a camera assistant and later assisted as a Publicity Photographer in the hit film Devdas (1935).
Roy played active role being a part of the Parallel Cinema movement of 1940s and 1950s. Roy made his directorial debut with the film Udayer Pothey in 1944 featuring three songs of Rabindranath Tagore which also included Jana Gana Mana (which became the national anthem of independent India).
World War II and partitions brought a collapse on New Theatres which led Roy and many other Bengali directors to move to Bombay by 1950. Soon Roy restarted his career with Maa and launched Bimal Roy Productions with Do Bigha Zameen. His biggest commercial hit Madhumati had Ritwik Ghatak as the writer, Hrishikesh Mukhejee as editor, Salil Chowdhury as composer and Dilip Kumar as actor.
Bimal Roy's works include Parakh, Sujata, Yahudi, Bandini, Parineeta, Kabuliwala, BirajBahu,Naukari, BaapBeti, BirajBahu, Prem Patra and many others. His realistic and socialistic approach along with the fine sense of light and cinematography earned him the reputation of a perfectionist. His works took strong positions against class discrimination, social injustice and economic oppressions putting his social sensibility and humanity on display.
His polished and innovative works set the standards for realism in Indian cinema. He illuminated ordinary characters and elicited marvellous performances drawing upon the works of eminent writers like Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Jarasandha.
Roy brought shades to the black and white screen with the strong and unique portrayal of his women characters.  Roy's women were emotionally independent with unimpeachable stature. Nirupa Roy as Paro in Do Bigha Zameen, Kamini Kaushal as Biraj in Biraj Bahu, Vyjayantimala as Madhumati in Madhumati, Parvati and Chandramukhi of Devdas, Nutan as Sujata in Sujata and as Kalyani in Bandini are noteworthy. He celebrated the individuality of women and at times they were intentionally displayed as stronger individuals than their male counterparts.
Unlike most other films of the parallel cinema, Roy's works were basically classics and never prosaic. He preferred directing his characters from real life while blending literature with music. This exceptional balance can be felt in Aajarinindiya (Do Bigha Zameen), Jalte Hain Jiske Liye (Sujata), Chali Radhe Rani (Parineeta), Dil TadapTadap Ke Keh Raha (Madhumati),Suhana Safar Aur Yeh Mausam Haseen (Madhumati), Aaja Re Pardesi (Madhumati), O Sajana Barkha Bahaar (Parakh), Mora Gora Ang Lai Le (Bandini), etc.
Marking himself as an important figure in the Indian film industry, Bimal Roy bagged an impressive number of awards and international accolades. His achievements include six national film awards, eleven Filmfare Awards and the International Prize at Cannes Film Festival.
Roy's works ranging from mainstream commercial cinema to the emerging Parallel Cinema surpassed Indian boundary and reached into the stage of world cinema. His enforcing moralistic codes are believed to work as a source of inspiration for many later works home and abroad.
Besides, being screened at many major national and international film festivals, his works are now being restored and digitized by National Film Archive of India (NFAI). With the view to keeping his unique legacy alive, The Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society was set up in 1997 and since then The Bimal Roy Memorial Trophy has been awarded every year to honour artists, contributors and young film makers of the Indian film industry.

The transcending works of Roy have created a body of classic films that echo aesthetic, moral and political sensibility. The man who spoke in pictures died at the age of fifty six leaving behind an unmatched and unequalled cinematic legacy.

The writer is schooling with Department of English, Jahangirnagar University

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