Bengal remembers first reel icon on death anniversary

July 24th, 2010 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 24 (IANS) Screening of a documentary, film retrospectives, cultural programmes and discussions marked the 30th death anniversary of Bengal’s matinee idol Uttam Kumar here Saturday.
Uttam Kumar’s blockbuster movies were screened in various auditoria while the legendary actor’s contemporaries and junior artistes remembered his life, struggles and ultimate stardom.

A special discussion on “Uttaam Sarbottam” (Uttam greatest) was held at South Kolkata’s Tapan Theatre, where people from various strata of society paid tributes to the actor who gave Bengali cinema many of its biggest hits for over three decades.

Cultural troupe Roopmanoori presented an evening of cultural programmes, paying homage to the legendary actor through songs, dances and elocution.

Nandan, the city’s renowned cultural and film complex, is hosting a festival of films of Bengal’s greatest romantic hero from Saturday.

The premiere of a 57-minute documentary titled “Mahanayak - A Superstar’s Journey” was held at the Basushree Cinema in South Kolkata.

The documentary, directed by Swapan Das, traces the Mahanayak’s (greatest hero) life from his birth till death at the age of 54.

The documentary has Gourab Chatterjee, grandson of Uttam Kumar, enacting his grandfather in certain portions.

Born Arun Kumar Chatterjee Sep 3, 1926 in Kolkata, Uttam Kumar made a quiet debut with the movie “Dristidan” (The gift of sight) in 1948, but had to wait for four years for his first popular success in “Basu Paribar” in 1952.

The next year he acted in the evergreen comedy “Sare Chuattar” opposite then upcoming actress Suchitra Sen, marking the beginning of the journey of the greatest romantic pair in Bengali films.

The duo acted together in 30 movies, producing one hit after another, and the era is rated as the golden period in Bengali films.

Uttam Kumar has acted in more than 150 films, including “Harano Sur” (Lost music), “Saptapadi” (Seven lamps), Nayak (Hero), “Antony Firingi” (Antony, the foreigner), “Chiriyakhana” (Zoo) and “Agnishwar”.

Uttam Kumar also acted in Hindi films like “Chhoti Si Mulaqat”, “Amanush”, “Ananda Ashram”, “Kitaab”, “Desh Prem” and “Dooriyan”.

He was the first actor to receive the National Award for best actor in 1967 for his performance in “Chiriyakhana” directed by Satyajit Ray.

He died in 1980.

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