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Uttam Kumar, Suchitra Sen & Durga Puja


This year, Durga Puja came earlier, in the last week of September. As usual, Binil from the Bengali Association of Bologna, “Sanatan Sanskritik Parishad” came to ask me to prepare the Durga Puja programme.

Every year, our Bologna Durga Puja has the same old films – Mahalaya, Ramayan, etc. I don’t remember watching such films during the Durga Puja in Delhi during the 1970s – we used to watch so many Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen films. But I can’t make Binil change his mind, he is adamant about showing these religious films.

Here are a few pictures from this years Durga Puja, followed by one of my old post on this theme written in May 2005.

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

Durga Puja in Bologna, Italy, 2009

From 2005 post: Watched Nayak with Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. Ray made it in 1966, just a year before Uttam Kumar himself produced Chotti si Mulakat. Nayak is a stereotype of how we feel rich and famous must be living their lives – it is all a façade. Nice smiles, cars, autograph hunters in the day. Nightmares, loneliness, people trying to exploit you all the time, to fall into alcoholic sleep.

In that genre, both Uttam Kumar as Arindam Mukherjee and Sharmila as the feminist journalist with heavy glasses and sans dimples are both stereotypes. Yet it is Uttam Kumar’s charm that raises the film’s interest. His nightmare with banknotes and skeleton hands holding ringing telephones may not be very imaginative but he makes every thing look effortless. The cliché seem plausible.

Reading his biography it is easy to see why people feel that the film was autobiographical.

I remember watching Chotti si Mulakat in Alipur Dwar. It had Vyjayantimala and “Ya Ya Hippi Hippi” in technicolor. Upperstall says that “He produced Chhotisi Mulaqaat in 1967 starring himself and Vyjayantimala. The film was adaptated from Agniparikhsha and had music by Shankar-Jaikishen . The film however was a dismal failure at the box-office leaving him with a pile of debt and probably leading to his first heart attack. Though he recovered and returned to full time acting, thus clearing his debts, he was never to produce a film again.”

The Bangladeshi DVD shop owner has so many Bengali films. The DvD with Nayak has 11 of his films, including different films with Suchitra sen.

Makes me remember the Durga Puja in the park in R-block, where they would show all those emotional films of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen that I loved – Deep Jale Jaye, Saptpadi, …

Uttam Kumar & Suchitra Sen

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