Tarun Majumdar retrospective at Kolkata Film Fest 2010

Tarun Majumdar -Kolkata Film Maker
Tarun Majumdar -Kolkata Film Maker

Kolkata, Nov 13, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) Bengali Movie legend Tarun Majumdar is among the leading filmmakers who defined the Golden Age of Bengali cinema when the schism between mainstream and off-mainstream cinema was so blurred that is seemed that the dividing line did not exist.

As a tribute to this filmmaker while he is still alive and active, the 16th KFF is screening six films directed by Majumdar. The films are Nimantran, Sriman Prithviraj, Ganadevata, Dadar Kirti, Amar Geeti and Bhalobasa Bhalobasa.

His films are marked by powerful storylines, often sourced back to  giants of Bengali literature, a brilliant musical score with memorable song numbers and an acting cast comprised of a wonderful amalgam of veteran, young and completely new actors.

He has walked the tightrope between commerce and art by fusing the conventional narrative form of storytelling with commercial viability.

He has recreated classics written by Bimal Kar, Sarandindu Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhushn Bandopadhyay and Tarasankar Bandopadhyay. His work has received neither the recognition nor the acclaim of his predecessors like Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen and so on though he has been relatively consistent along the forty years of his career in films.

Nimantran (1971), won the BFJA Award for Best Indian Film of the year, Best Director for Majumdar, Best Actress for Sandhya Roy and Best Cinematographer in Black and White for Shakti Banerjee.

Sreeman Prithviraj (1973) starring Ayan Banerjee and Mahua Roy Choudhury is one of the sweetest and biggest Bengali film with a down to earth feel ever made on the subject of teenage love. The film continues to have a cult following.

Ganadevata is perhaps Majumdar’s most ambitious film. Based on a novel by Tarashankar Banerjee, the film, set in rural Bengal before World War II, is the story of a blacksmith and tanner who refuse to work in a barter system. It had an ensemble cast of fine artists like Soumitra Chatterjee, Sandhya Roy, Madhabi Mukherjee and Robi Ghosh.The film won the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

Dadar Kirti,  (1980)
based on a story by Saradindu Banerjee, is a melodrama and a coming-of-age story about a simple-minded man jset against the backdrop of city-rural divide representative of a conflict of morality. The film introduced Tapas Paul and Debashree Roy, who became become major stars in Bengali cinema.

Bhalobasa Bhalobasa (1985) against the subtle backdrop of the Indian freedom movement, it is the story of the transformation of a young boy’s innocent but naughty childhood to an appreciation of the Swadeshi Movement and the growth of adolescent love for a girl even younger than him. The comedy is natural and free-flowing.

Into the 1990s, he made Amar Geeti (1983), a fine tribute to the power of music and cultural traditions surviving the humiliating decadence from colonial rule, Bhalobasha Bhalobasha (1985), again starring Debashree Roy and Apon Amar Apon (1990). His last feature film is Chander Bari  (2007) starring Rituparna Sengupta that revived the use of Tagore songs and compositions in Bengali cinema.

By Shoma A. Chatterji

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