Remembering Bimal Roy
Bimal Roy (third right) and Gulzar (extreme right). Image Source: https://scroll.in/
Bimal Roy (12 July 1909 — 8 January 1966) was an Indian film director. Among his best known realistic and socialistic films are Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Bandini (1963), Biraj Bahu (1954), and Madhumati (1958), which he used to portray realism. His career has been filled with awards, including eleven, and the International Prize at Cannes. Madhumati won 9 Filmfare Awards in 1958, a record he held for 37 years.
Bimal Roy was born on 12 July 1909, to a Bengali Baidya zamindar family in Suapur, Dhaka, which was then in the Eastern Bengal and Assam province of British India and is now in Bangladesh. He produced Bengali and Hindi movies.
Bimal Roy moved to Calcutta and started working as a camera assistant for New Theatres Pvt. Ltd. During this time, he assisted director P.C. Barua as Publicity Photographer, on the hit 1935 film Devdas, starring K.L. Saigal. Roy was part of the parallel cinema movement in post-war India in the 1940s and 1950s. He worked on Anjangarh (1948), one of the last major films of the New Theatres, but the Kolkata film industry was in decline then. Roy moved to Bombay with his team in 1950, which included Hrishikesh Mukherjee (editor), Nabendu Ghosh (screenwriter), Asit Sen (assistant director), Kamal Bose (cinematographer), and Salil Chaudhury (music director). By 1952, he had started the second phase of his career with Maa (1952), for Bombay Talkies.
He married Manobina Roy and had four kids: daughters Rinki Bhattacharya, Yashodhara Roy, and Aparajita Sinha, and his son Joy Roy. Rinki Bhattacharya married director Basu Bhattacharya against the wishes of both families. Marriage ended within a few years, but they had a son, actor and screenwriter Aditya Bhattacharya. Rikki heads the Bimal Roy Memorial Committee now.
Do Bigha Zamin (1953) won the International Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1954. Therefore, the film’s success paved the way for the Indian New Wave.
Since 1997, the Bimal Roy Memorial and Film Society has awarded the Bimal Roy Memorial Trophy to honour top artists and other contributors to the Indian film industry, as well as new and upcoming filmmakers.
A postage stamp featuring him was released by India Post on 8 January 2007.
During his career, he won 11 Filmfare Awards, two National Film Awards, and the International Prize at Cannes. Madhumati won 9 Filmfare Awards in 1958, a record that stood for 37 years.
He died of cancer on 7 January 1966 at the age of 56.
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