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Director Basu Chatterjee is no more – the man who brought middle-class on celluloid

5 June, 2020 02:54:48
Director Basu Chatterjee is no more – the man who brought middle-class on celluloid

No one could bring the sentiments of the Indian middle class better on celluloid than legendary film maker Basu Chatterjee. With his passing away, Indian cinema will lose the micro-feelings of the common man, that are usually dumped under the huge load of regular duties. Some of the classics that Bollywood’s favourite Basu da had made were Rajnigandha, Chhoti Si Baat, Khatta Meetha, Baton Baton Mein and Shaukeen. 

Chatterjee started his career as an illustrator and cartoonist with the weekly tabloid Blitz published in Mumbai. Here he worked for 18 years, before he changed career paths to filmmaking, when he assisted Basu Bhattacharya in the Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman starrer Teesri Kasam (1966), which later won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. Eventually, he made his directorial debut with Sara Akash in 1969, which won him the Filmfare Best Screenplay Award.

Though Chatterjee had a fascination for new female faces, many of whom got their first break on his films and later went on to become stars, he also directed many well-known stars in neverseen before roles. Take for example Mithun Chakraborty in Shaukheen with Rati Agnihotri, Vinod Mehra in Us Paar with Moushmi Chatterjee, Jeetendra with Neetu Singh in Priyatama, or even Dev Anand with Tina Munim in Man Pasand. Though his films with two of the biggest Bollywood heroes Rajesh Khanna in Chakravyuha and Amitabh Bachchan in Manzil, did not make a box office hit, they were critically acclaimed at the time of their release and have developed cult classic status over the years.

Basu Chatterjee presented the India middle-class household brilliantly in celluloid and his rich body of work is ample proof of it. His movies were widely liked and appreciated for his content. He also made films based on social issues such as 'Ek Ruka Hua Faisla', and 'Kamla Ki Maut'. His incredible list of movies which received much love from audiences across all age groups includes Chhoti Si Baat, Us Paar, Chitchor, Rajnigandha, Piya Ka Ghar, Khatta Meetha, Chakravyuha, Baton Baton Mein, Priyatama, Man Pasand, Hamari Bahu Alka, Shaukeen and Chameli Ki Shaadi amongst various others. 

Not just films, Basu Chatterjee was also associated with television. He directed TV series Byomkesh Bakshi and Rajani for Doordarshan (DD) - both were highly popular shows on TV back then. The void his demise has created can never be filled again but his legacy will continue through his timeless cinema.

Story Tag:
  • Bengali Film Directors, Basu Chatterjee

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