Bimal Roy

Bimal Royicon male small Bimal Roy icon tree small Bimal RoyBorn: 1909-07-12Died: 1966-01-08
Father: (Bimal and Anil Roy's father)Mother: Unspecified
Children: Joy Roy, Aparajita Sinha, Yashodhara Roy, Rinki Bhattacharya
Siblings: Anil Roy

Bimal Roy was born on 12 July 1909, to a zamindar family in Suapur, then part of the Bengal province of British India and now part of Bangladesh. Bimal Roy moved to the Calcutta and entered the field of cinema as a camera assistant with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd. During this time, he assisted director P.C. Barua on the hit 1935 film Devdas, starring K.L. Saigal. In the 1940s and 1950s Roy was part of the parallel cinema movement in post-war India. He was famous for his romantic-realist melodramas that took on important social issues while still being entertaining. He was a filmmaker of great and in depth understanding of human strengths and weaknesses. In 1959, he was a member of the jury at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival.

He died of cancer at the age of 56.

Awards

Filmfare Awards

  • 1953: Filmfare Award for Best Film – Do Bigha Zamin
  • 1953: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Do Bigha Zamin
  • 1954: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Parineeta
  • 1955: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Biraj Bahu
  • 1958: Filmfare Award for Best Film – Madhumati
  • 1958: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Madhumati
  • 1959: Filmfare Award for Best Film – Sujata
  • 1959: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Sujata
  • 1960: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Parakh
  • 1963: Filmfare Award for Best Film – Bandini
  • 1963: Filmfare Award for Best Director – Bandini

National Film Awards

  • 1953: All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film – Do Bigha Zamin
  • 1954: All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film – Biraj Bahu
  • 1955: Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Devdas[
  • 1958: President’s Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Madhumati
  • 1959: All India Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film – Sujata
  • 1963: Best Feature Film in Hindi: Bandini

Cannes Film Festival

  • Won International Prize: 1953 for Do Bigha Zamin
  • Nominated for Grand Prize of the Festival: 1953 for Do Bigha Zamin
  • Nominated for Palme d’Or: 1955 for Biraj Bahu
  • Nominated for Palme d’Or: 1960 for Sujata

Music

Bimal Roy usually alternated between music directors Salil Chowdhury and S.D. Burman. His films featured beautiful and memorable songs, rendered by all the top playback singers of the day. Some of the notable songs from Roy’s films include:

  • “Jalte Hain Jiske Liye” from Sujata (1959), sung by Talat Mahmood
  • “Chali Radhe Rani” from Parineeta (1953), sung by Manna Dey
  • “Aa Ri Aa Nindiya” from Do Bigha Zamin (1953), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “Ab Aage Teri Marzi” from Devdas (1955), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “Dil Tadap Tadap Ke Keh Raha” from Madhumati (1958), music by Salol Chowdhury, sung by Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar
  • “Suhana Safar Aur Yeh Mausam Haseen” from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Mukesh
  • “Aaja Re Pardesi” from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadake” from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • “Zulmi Sang Aankh Ladi” from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “O Sajana Barkha Bahaar” from Parakh (1960), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “Mora Gora Ang Lai Le” from Bandini (1963), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • “O Jaanewale Ho Sake To Laut Ke Aana” from Bandini (1963), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Mukesh

Legacy

Bimal Roy’s influence was far-reaching, both in Indian cinema and world cinema. In Indian cinema, his influence extended to both mainstream commercial Hindi cinema and the emerging Parallel Cinema. His film Two Acres of Land (1953) was the first film to successfully straddle art and commercial cinema. It was a commercial and critical success, winning the International Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. The film’s success paved the way for the Indian New Wave as a result.
In commercial cinema, the most influential film he directed was perhaps Madhumati (1958), his first and only collaboration with Ritwik Ghatak (who wrote the screenplay) and one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation. It is believed to have been the source of inspiration for many later works dealing with the theme of reincarnation in Indian cinema, Indian television, and perhaps world cinema. It may have been the source of inspiration for the American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) and the Hindi film Karz (1980), both of which dealt with reincarnation and have been influential in their respective cultures. Karz in particular was remade several times: as the Kannada film Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film Enakkul Oruvan (1984), and more recently the Bollywood film Karz (2008). Karz may have also inspired the American film Chances Are (1989). The most recent film to be directly inspired by Madhumati is the hit Bollywood film Om Shanti Om (2007), which led to Roy’s daughter Rinki Bhattacharya accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.
Bimal Roy’s films continue to be screened at major national and international film festivals in India, Europe and North America. His films are currently being restored and digitized by the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) at Pune.

Filmography

  • Bengal Famine (1943)
  • Udayer Pathey (1944)
  • Hamrahi (1944)
  • Anjangarh (1948)
  • Mantramugdhu (1949)
  • Pehla Aadmi (1950)
  • Maa (1952)
  • Parineeta (1953)
  • Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
  • Naukari (1954 )
  • Biraj Bahu (1954)
  • Baap Beti (1954)
  • Devdas (1955)
  • Yahudi (1958)
  • Madhumati (1958)
  • Sujata (1959)
  • Parakh (1960)
  • Immortal Stupa (1961)
  • Prem Patra (1962)
  • Bandini (film) (1963)
  • Life and Message of Swami Vivekananda (1964)
  • Benazir (1964)
  • Gautama the Buddha (1967) – Produced by Bimal Roy [Director: Rajbans Khanna]

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