While the world’s largest film industry, our very own Bollywood is getting commercialized each day, there have been directors who have always tried and succeeded at giving hope and holding life in films.
This trend of depicting life, issues of common people, rehabilitation, social evils, death and reincarnation in films dates back to the time of none other than the legendary filmmaker, Bimal Roy.
In a time when the main stream Bollywood cinema is looking at exploring political, social and cultural issues of our country, entertaining its audience simultaneously, it is fascinating to look back at a time about five decades ago when socially relevant and controversial or debatable issues were growing to be a ‘filmy business’, all thanks to the quality cinema and vision of Roy.
Bimal Da, as he is popularly known, became a part of the parallel cinema movement in the 1940s and 50s. Since then, there was no looking back. Realistic films like ‘Do Bigha Zamin’, ‘Parineeta’, ‘Biraj Bahu’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Madhumati’, ‘Sujata’ and ‘Bandini’ (not in particular chronological order) followed, making him an awe-inspiring name among the film fraternity and masses alike. His influence reached far and wide, both in commercial and parallel cinema in India as well as abroad and won him the International Prize at 1954 Cannes Film Festival for ‘Do Bigha Zamin’. Only Roy had the foresight to comprehend the relevance of the song, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ even before it was adopted as our national anthem: his classic, ‘Do Bigha Zamin’s screening began with the anthem, the version composed by RC Boral in 1944, years before our independence. The movie was both a commercial success and won several critical acclaims, like all his other movies.
He went on to claim several popular Bollywood awards, while his first most commercially influential ‘gothic noir’ film, ‘Madhumati’ set a new record with 9 popular Bollywood awards - a record that maintained itself for 37 years. With its theme of reincarnation, the movie has inspired generations of filmmakers in Indian Cinema, television and world cinema too.
The women in his movies played powerful, defining roles like the orphan and untouchable Sujata (played by Nutan) in ‘Sujata’ and a tribal girl, Madhumati (played by Vyjayantimala) whose songs have a haunting feel in ‘Madhumati’ – a trend that we are again coming to explore in the new-gen movies with ‘Piku’, ‘Queen’ and ‘Mary Kom’.
Roy was not only a trendsetter, but also a versatile writer and director. From writing scripts for at least three of his films to introducing unknown music composers, filmmakers, actors and script writers to Indian cinema (who later became powerful artists in their own respect), the maestro had it all under his wings and yet knew how to fly high.
Roy’s unforgettable film music, the conviction with which social conflicts were presented, storytelling techniques and the lifelike characters, together created a legacy in Bollywood, to be cherished even 50 years after his death.
Commemorating this 50th death anniversary of the prolific legend is Zee Classic’s ‘Bimal Roy Festival’ that will be held in a five-part weekly series on the channel to celebrate the pioneer of Indian cinema and his noteworthy contributions in what is known as the golden era of Hindi films.
A proud and ardent admirer of Roy’s movies, seasoned Bollywood actor, Boman Irani will be presenting the series with his remarkable anecdotes, unknown facts and trivia about Roy and his films, helping us all who have grown watching Hindi films to know the brilliant artist even better.
Irani, who believes India should make qualitatively good films, cherishes his childhood memories when he watched Roy’s evergreen films on Doordarshan. Through this festival, he plans to relive those memories, appreciate the passion behind Roy’s filmmaking and his progressive mindset about societal reform.
Dettol presents ‘The Bimal Roy Festival presented by Boman Irani’ co-powered by State Bank of India and Good Knight Advanced Active+ starts on February 6, Saturday with ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ at 8 p.m. followed by ‘Devdas’, ‘Madhumati’, ‘Sujata’ and ‘Bandini’ the following Saturdays. Tune-in to Zee Classic for a leisurely and entertaining experience into the world of Indian cinema.
This is a sponsored post.