Dr Vishal Das
Silchar,July 24: Uttam Kumar,an enigma that had taken all cinema lovers by storm and compelled them to fall in love. Even after so many years, Uttam Kumar is loved and adored still today.From being bullied as “Flop Master General” to becoming the MAHANAYAK of Bengal, his remarkable acting and courage transformed Arun Kumar Chatarjee into the most popular house hold name of Bengal, “Uttam Kumar”.
Popularly known as Mahanayak, He was a recipient of many awards over his lifetime, including National Film Award for Best Actor.Tollygunge Metro station in Kolkata was renamed as Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro Station in his honour.Indian Postal department released a commemorative postage stamp of denomination of Rs. 5 on Uttam Kumar.
He touched the hearts of millions with his ‘mesmerizing’ acting and that “million dollar smile” and this ‘nostalgia still continues among cinephiles.He ruled Bengali film industry for almost three decades and have given many memorable performance. Here is some of his notable work :
1.Nayak(1966) : A classic Bengali drama film composed, written, and directed by Satyajit Ray which revolves around a matinee idol on a 24-hour train journey from Kolkata to Delhi to receive a national award. However, he ends up revealing his mistakes, insecurities and regrets to a young journalist ( Sharmila Tagore). The film won the Best Bengali film National award along with many international awards.
2.Chowringee (1968) : Based on a novel of the same name by Shankar which portrays the crisis of everyone’s life through different stories. Uttam Kumar played the character of Sata Bose, a hotel receptionist. It was one of the biggest commercial hits of Bengal which was later remade by Srijit Mukherjee.
- Antony Firingee (1967) : A biographical musical drama film directed by Sunil Bannerjee, starring Uttam Kumar and Tanuja. It is a biopic based on the life of Anthony Firingee (Hensman Anthony), a Bengali language folk poet of Portuguese origin. This film is still itched into the eyes of cinephiles for the outstanding performance of Uttam Kumar and it’s soundtracks.
- Harano Sur(1957) : A Bengali romantic drama film by Ajoy Kar, starring Suchitra Sen and Uttam Kumar. The film is regarded as one of the finest films of Uttam-Suchitra Pair. Harano Sur broke all the box office records of that time and established Uttam Kumar as the most popular matinee idol of Bengal. They have given many commercial hits after Harano Sur. Uttam-Suchitra is regarded as the most romantic on screen pair ever happened in Bengali Cinema.
5: Chiriyakhana(1967) : A crime thriller film, based on the story of Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, directed by Satyajit Ray starring Uttam Kumar as Byomkesh Bakshi.This was one of the very first adaptation of Byomkesh Bakshi on celluloid.The screenplay is written by Satyajit Ray.The performance of Uttam Kumar as Byomkesh was appreciated by many critics at that time.
In 1980’s During the shoot of “Ogo Bodhu Sundari”, he suffered from a stroke and was taken to a hospital( Belle vue clinic). He breathed his last shortly after that. He was only 53-years-old.While his body was brought to his home in Bhowanipur, traffic in Kolkata came to a hault. Thousands and thousands of people gathered in the street to have a last glance of their beloved MAHANAYAK.
While paying homage to Uttam Kumar, Satyajit Ray rightly said, “It is the demise of a leading light of the Bengali film industry…There isn’t – there won’t be another hero like him.” Ray’s words will be proven true throughout years & centuries.