Unforgettable Bimal Roy

Inderjeet S. Bhatia “Prince”
The 111th birth anniversary of Bimal Roy, the father figure of Indian Cinema was held on 12th July. Bimal Roy, lovingly called as Bimal Da 1909 to a Bengali Baidya , Dhaka, which was part of Eastern Bengal before partition of 1947 (now Dhaka division Bangladesh). Bimal Da was married to Manobina Roy and was blessed with 4 Children. Bimal Roy started his career as an assistant Cameraman at the famous New Theatres, Calcutta (1932-33). He won many accolades for his fine sense of lightening and composition.Bimal Roy made his directorial debut with a Bengali Film “Udayer Pathey” in 1944. This film is a celluloid master piece for Bengali lovers.
The late 40’s saw many Bengali Film-makers shifted their base to Bombay. It was perhaps, the result of Quit India movement which was gaining ground in Bengal rapidly. Bimal Roy too shifted to Mumbai and launched his film company as “Bimal Roy” Productions in 1952 – 53. Bimal Roy became a name synonymous with great film craft in India and abroad. He became a legend in his life-time. Bimal Roy’s films won not only critics acclaim but also the admiration of the masses. Bimal Roy was a quiet, humble and un-assuming person. An un-sung hero who never bragged or showed off his achievements. He cared little for the box -office and followed his inner instinct. A man of few words, his persona was always a picture of humility and modesty. He kept working like a ‘Karam-Yogi’ on his creative projects one after another and gave pure and healthy entertainers to the Society – watchable by the entire family.
Bimal Roy, in a sense, was an institution of film making in himself who gave film Industry many noted film – makers, lyricists, writers and music composers. Music composer Salil Chowdhary was introduced to Bollywood by Bimal Roy in “Do Bigha Zameen”. Gulzar made his debut as lyric-writer with Bimal Roy’s, “Bandini”. Bimal Roy’s worth disciple and successor Hrishikesh Mukherjee continued his legacy in true spirits. Bimal Roy won Eleven Filmfare awards for best film / best director category in different films. He won 2 National Film Awards. He won International prize of the cannes Film Festival. His film “Madhumati” bagged Nine film fare awards in 1958 in different categories. A record held by any film-maker for 37 years. “Madhumati” was adjudged as the highest grosser of the year 1958.
This great maestro passed away at the prime age of 56 years of age on Jan 8, 1965 in Bombay, Maharashtra. In his death, Bollywood lost a brilliant film maker and director pre-maturely who was also a great human being.
“Some memorable films of Bimal Roy”
Bimal Roy is remembered for making realistic and socialistic movies. His films used to revolve around life-like characters with unique style of storytelling laced with unforgettable melodious music. Bimal Roy’s first film as a producer – director was ” Do Bigha Zameen” which was released in 1953. This film eloquently portrayed the agony of the displaced peasantry. In a brilliant cinematic language, the film told the simple but heart rendering story of a farmer struggling to save his land from a greedy landlord ” Do Bigha Zameen” is considered as a land mark film and one of the Ten best Indian films of all times.
Very few people knew that Bimal Roy was a writer himself. “Do Bigha Zameen” was based on a story “Rikshawallah” penned by Bimal Roy in 40’s Film “Parakh” was also based on his own story. In the year 1955 came ” Dev Dass” Film was based on the Sharad Chandra Chattopadhay novel “Devdas”. Produced and Directed by Bimal Roy productions, film was a romantic musical drama starring Dilip Kumar, Suhitra Sen, Vijayanthimala, Nazima, Motilal, Murad, Iftekhar and others, film had music by S.D.Burman. Devdass (Dilip Kumar) and Paro’s (Suchitra Sen). Child hood friendship blossoms into love. But Paro is forced to marry a rich zamindar because Dev Dass’s Father (Murad) was against this relationship. This turned Devdass into a depressed alcoholic. Chandramukhi (Vijayanthimala) too could not provide solace to his bleeding heart. Released on Jan 1 , 1955 film created box office history by collecting more 1 crore in those times. Film bagged best actress in a supporting role award for vijayantimala by filmfare.
“Madhumati” starring Dilip Kumar, Vijayanthi Mala, Pran, Johny walker and Jayant was released on 12th Sept. 1958. Directed by Bimal Roy film was a romantic musical drama Devendra (Dilip Kumar) takes shelter in a mansion when a land slide blocks his route to the railway station. He finds the mansion very familiar and soon learns about the story of his previous birth. Film bagged best music director award
(Film fare) for the year 1958. Film’s songs suhana safar Aur yeh Mausam Haseen (Mukesh) and “Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadke (Lata) became evergreen hits. “Parineeta” starring Ashok Kumar as (Shekhar), Meena Kumari (Lalita), Nazir Hussain (Guru Charan / Asit Baran (Girin) and others was released on 23rd Jan, 1953. Directed by Bimal Roy film tells the story of a poor clerk Gurucharan, who is unable to re-pay money borrowed from his wealthy neighbor Nabin (Badri Prasad). It so happens that Gurucharan’s niece (Meena Kumari) Lalita falls in love with Shekhar (Ashok Kumar) who is the son of Guru charan’s wealthy neighbor. Now Shekhar and Lalita’s Love is put to test Film was based on 1914’s Bengali Novel of the same name was directed by Bimal Roy and was a commercial hit at the box – office. “Yahudi”, directed by Bimal Roy was released on 5th September 1958. It was based on a story ” Yahudi Ki Ladki” by Agha Hashkar Kashmiri Film tells the story of Ezra (Sohrab Modi) a Jewish man, who decides to raise an abducted Roman-girl Lydia as his own child . Years later ” Lydia” is now a beautiful grown up lady (Meena Kumari) who meets accidently with Prince Marcus (Dilip Kumar) a Roman Prince, who pretends to be a Jewish man. Both falls in love. But as events roll-by, the true identity of Prince – Marcus is revealed A stunned Lydia bans him from her life. What follows next forms crux of this movie Film’s title music and song ” Yeh mera Diwanapan Hai” by mukesh are still popular.
“Kabuliwala” produced by Bimal Roy and released on 14th Dec,1961 was not a commercial hit but is still remembered for power-packed performace of Balraj Sahni in the title role of a Pathan called Rahmat whose wife is no more. He has a little daughter Ameena (Baby Farida) to whom he cares like a mother. He also keep saving her from the wrath of her grand mother. Pathan stealthily leaves Afghanisthan to reach Calcutta to earn money as Ameena, her daughter, would not let him go.
In India Rehmat (Balraj Sahni) starts selling dry fruits and in the process befriends little child mini (Baby Sonu) in whom he sees her own daughter. It so happens that, Pathan when decides to return home in Afghanisthan, after collecting his dues, a man accidently is murdered by him. He visited that man’s house to collect his dues (Rs 18/) being price of a shawl sold by Pathan. The man and his family abuses him and the so called murder took place. Pathan is sentenced to Ten years of imprisonment. When released, little Mini refuses to recognize him. Who is now a grown-up lady (Lata Sinha) as she has forgotten him totally. Stunned Rehmat (Balraj Sahni) realizes his own daughter too many have forgotten him by now. He longs to go back home but has no money eventually, Mini’s father help him with Cash and Rehmat leaves India in the hope of being re-united with his daughter in Afghanisthan. Film, though, was not a commercial hit is still remembered for its emotional content and immortal songs. “Ae Mere Pyare Watan…” (By Manna Day) and ” Ganga Aaye Kahan Se..” (By Hemant Kumar) “Bandini” released on Jan, 1, 1963 was produced and directed by Bimal Roy. It happened to be Bimal Da’s last venture as a Film-Maker. Film was the story of a woman prisoner (Nutan) who is serving life imprisonment For Murder. The all suffering, selfless, sacrificing and strong willed yet weak Indian Woman. She has to make a choice on his release from the jail, between the loving prison doctor (Dharmendra) and an ailing Bikash (Ashok Kumar) the man she loved but lost in her past. Film bagged national award for best film of the year. It bagged a total of 6 Film-Fare Awards in different categories.