Uttam Kumar

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Uttam Kumar
Mahanayak Uttam-kumar.jpg
Born
Arun Kumar Chatterjee

(1926-09-03)3 September 1926
Died24 July 1980(1980-07-24) (aged 53)
Nationality Indian
Other namesMahanayak
OccupationActor, producer, theatre director
Years active1948–1980
Works
Filmography
Spouse(s)
Gauri Chatterjee
(m. 19411980)
(m. 19631980)
Children1
Relatives
Awards Full list

Uttam Kumar (born Arun Kumar Chatterjee; 3 September 1926 – 24 July 1980), popularly known as the Mahanayak, [1] was an Indian film actor who predominantly worked in Bengali cinema. [2] [3]

Contents

Career

Kumar's career starts with the 1948 film Drishtidan, before Nayak he has already cast in 113 films. Each and every films of Uttam Kumar is an asset to Indian cinema specially Bengali Cinema and most of them are super duper hit which are worth remembering. The vast versatile work that Uttam Kumar created is undoubtedly the best as an actor in Bengali Cinema. One of his lauded appearance was in Satyajit Ray's Nayak (1966). It is now widely accepted that Ray wrote the script with Uttam in mind. Many people feel the film bears resemblance to Uttam Kumar's own life – the sense of anxiety and restlessness mirrored Uttam's insecurities about his phenomenal success and abiding fear that his superstardom might not last. Uttam made the role of Arindam (Mukherjee) his own and Ray later confessed that if Uttam had refused the film, he would have abandoned it. He worked with Ray the following year in Chiriyakhana (1967). [4]

Uttam Kumar was the first-ever recipient of the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performances in Antony Firingee and Chiriyakhana in 1967. Uttam Kumar Indrani (1958).png
Uttam Kumar was the first-ever recipient of the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performances in Antony Firingee and Chiriyakhana in 1967.

He explored new avenues of film-making by trying his hand at production, singing, composing music, screenplay writing and directing. The success of his Indian films as producer — Harano Sur , Saptapadi , Bhrantibilash, Jotugriha (1964), Grihadah — won greatest acclaim. On producing Chhoti Si Mulaqat in 1967, which was a Hindi film starring Uttam and Vyjayanthimala, Uttam almost used up all his savings, since the film had to be shot in colour and was shot in extravagant locations. Both Uttam and Vyjayanthimala had huge hopes associated with the film, but the film was a flop leading to great disappointment for Uttam Kumar. It was later said that this flop was one of the main reasons for triggering the heart attack, which ultimately led to his death. [5] Later, Uttam directed much-lauded films such as Sudhu Ekti Bochhor and Bon Palashir Padaboli. He composed music for the film Kaal Tumi Aleya in which Hemanta Mukherjee and Asha Bhosle sang to his tune.

He came out with an authorised biography Aamar Ami in 1979–80. He had a phenomenal fan base which continues even to this day. In 1960, he started writing an autobiography named Harano Dinguli Mor (My Bygone Days), but could not complete it. Parts of that book were published by the magazine Nabokallol. On the day Uttam died, the original manuscript was stolen. Later, a member from Times of India had found the manuscript and the national library helped to find old editions of Nabakallol and then the incomplete book was finally published in the 37th Calcutta Book Fair. As a singer, he recorded songs for the AIR – All India Radio – and very recently, an album of Tagore songs (Rabindrasangeet) sung by him, has been brought out. [6]

There was a time, when at the heights of his popularity Uttam Kumar was approached to recite the Chandi Path in the All India Radio (AIR) studios. Traditionally this had always been done by Birendra Krishna Bhadra. But there was a huge uproar amongst the audience as to why Uttam Kumar had been chosen instead of Birendra Krishna. Uttam personally met Mr. Bhadra and apologised and from the next year Mahalaya on AIR was again done by Bhadra. [7]

Reruns of his films on television decades after his death are still eagerly watched. Uttam Kumar's time is considered by most as the Golden Era of Bengali cinema. [8]

Uttam-Suchitra combination

Kumar and Suchitra Sen in Harano Sur Uttam-Kumar-and-Suchitra-Sen-in-Bangla-Movie-Harano-Sur---1957.jpg
Kumar and Suchitra Sen in Harano Sur

The on-screen chemistry between Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen has always been much adored and admired. Both of them together constituted the evergreen and popular romantic pair of Bengali Cinema till date. Some of Uttam's famous films co-starring Suchitra Sen include Share Chuattor, Agni Pariksha , Shilpi, Saptapadi , [9] [10] Pathe Holo Deri, Harano Sur , Chaowa Paowa , Bipasha , Jiban Trishna, Sagarika, Trijama, Indrani, Sabar Upare, Surjyo Toron, Rajlakshmi O Sreekanto, "Ekti Raat", "Grihadaha", Kamallata, Har Mana Har, Alo Amar Alo. [11] [12]

Sonar Harin saw Supriya Devi (who would win great accolades for her performance in Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara the following year) play the lead opposite Uttam Kumar. As they began to act in more films together, the two got involved off-screen as well. In 1963, Uttam left his family home at Girish Mukherjee Road, Bhowanipur and stayed with Supriya for the next 17 years till his death. They starred together in several other films like Uttarayan, Chiradiner, Agni Sanskar, Suno Baranari, Kal Tumi Aleya, Lal Pathor, Andha Atit , Sudhu Ekti Bochhor, Mon Niye, Bilambita Loy, Bhola Maira, Sanyasi Raja, Bon Palashir Padabali , Sister, Jibon Mrityue, Bagh Bandir Khela. [13]

Personal life

Morgan House Kalimpong Testimonial of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Supriya Devi. Morgan House Kalimpong Testimonial of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Supriya.jpg
Morgan House Kalimpong Testimonial of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Supriya Devi.

Uttam Kumar married Gauri Chatterjee (1929-1981) in 1941. Later, he lived with actress Supriya Devi when he left his home at Girish Mukherjee road in 1963 till his death. [14]

Death

A workaholic, he was rumoured to have said that his preferred demise would be on the floor of a studio, doing what he loved best: acting. While filming Ogo Bodhu Shundori in 1980 Uttam Kumar suffered a stroke and was admitted to the Belle vue Clinic. The doctors did their best for 16 hours but he died that night on 24 July 1980 at the age of 53. [15] [16]

Filmography

Accolades

National Film Awards
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards.

Legacy

Uttam Kumar in 2009 stamp of India. Uttam Kumar 2009 stamp of India.jpg
Uttam Kumar in 2009 stamp of India.

Tollygunge Metro station in Kolkata was renamed as Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro Station in his honour. There is a theatre (Uttam Mancha) named after him in Kolkata. A life-size statue has been erected near Tollygunge metro station which has recently been renamed after the iconic actor by the Central Railway Ministry. [19] Besides, Shilpi Sansad, the actor's pet project of safegurading the artists especially the poor and the old, is active still. Celebrating the 89th birth anniversary of Uttam Kumar, the Department of Posts in 2009, released a series of new postal stamps featuring the actor on them.The Department of Posts also released a brochure on the Uttam Kumar Stamp release with a note that says "Uttam Kumar – The Legend of Indian Cinema". The Government of India on 19 June 2015, released the "UTTAM" Award for Best acting. In the year of 2016, a television series called "Mahanayak" was telecast. It was based on his life. [20]

"It is the demise of a leading light of the Bengali film industry...There isn't – there won't be another hero like him." [21]
"Uttam Kumar was the most gifted actor I ever worked with. His first Hindi film, Chhoti Si Mulaqat, was opposite me in 1967... Uttam Kumar was thoroughly professional, cooperative and lip-synced perfectly, especially on "Aye Chand" and "Tujhe Dekha". He lip-synched songs rendered by Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey and Mohammed Rafi as if he was singing them. I was criticised for Chhoti Si Mulaqat but Uttam Kumar never criticised me" [22]
"If Uttam Kumar committed a crime and then he gave that smile, I was ready to believe he was innocent." [23]


The Tollygunge metro station of Kolkata Metro was renamed as "Mahanayak Uttam Kumar" and decorated the station by movie pictures of Uttam Kumar by Indian Railways. [24]
Indian Postal department released a commemorative postage stamp of denomination of Rs. 5 on Uttam Kumar. [25] [26]

Related Research Articles

Hemant Kumar Indian singer

Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, known professionally as Hemant Kumar, was an Indian Bengali singer and music director who sang in Bengali, Hindi and other Indian languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Odia, Assamese, Tamil, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Konkani, Sanskrit and Urdu. He was an artist of Bengali and Hindi film music, Rabindra Sangeet, and many other songs. He was the recipient of two National Awards for Best Male Playback Singer.

Suchitra Sen Indian actress

Suchitra Sen was an Indian film actress who worked in Bengali and Hindi cinema. The movies in which she was paired opposite Uttam Kumar became classics in the history of Bengali cinema.

Tarun Majumdar Indian film director

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<i>Saptapadi</i> (1961 film) 1961 Indian film directed by Ajoy Kar

Saptapadi is a 1961 Indian Bengali-language romantic drama film by Ajoy Kar, starring Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar, Chhabi Biswas and Chhaya Debi. Regarded as the romantic blockbuster of the evergreen romantic pair of Bengali cinema, Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen, accompanied with mesmerizing music direction and playback singing in Uttam's voice by Hemanta Mukherjee and in Suchitra's voice by Sandhya Mukherjee. The story is based on a novel of 1958 written by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay.

<i>Harano Sur</i> 1957 film

Harano Sur is a 1957 Indian Bengali-language romantic drama film by Ajoy Kar, starring Suchitra Sen and Uttam Kumar, with music by Hemanta Mukherjee, and sung by Geeta Dutt. The film is regarded as one of the finest examples of Bengali cinema of this early golden period. The film is loosely based on the 1942 Hollywood flick Random Harvest which had been remade earlier in Tamil as Amara Deepam and in Hindi as Amar Deep.

Uttam Kumar filmography Filmography of Indian actor Uttam Kumar

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Asit Sen was an Indian film director, cinematographer and screenwriter, who worked in both Bengali and Hindi cinema. He was born in Dhaka, now in modern-day Bangladesh, when it was part of East Bengal in British India. He directed 17 feature films in Hindi and Bengali, and was most known for the films Deep Jweley Jai (1959) and Uttar Falguni (1963) in Bengali, Mamta (1966), Khamoshi (1969), Anokhi Raat (1968) and Safar (1970) in Hindi.

<i>Agni Pariksha</i> (1954 film) 1954 film directed by Agradoot"`UNIQ--ref-00000002-QINU`"

Agni Pariksha is a 1954 Indian Bengali-language romantic drama film directed by Agradoot and starring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen. The film was adapted from Asha Purna Devi's novel of the same name. The movie was remade in Hindi in 1967 as Chhoti Si Mulaqat also starring Uttam Kumar. Before that the movie was simultaneously made into a 1959 Telugu - Tamil bilingual titled Mangalya Balam in Telugu and Manjal Mahimai in Tamil.

Bikash Roy

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<i>Uttar Falguni</i> 1963 Indian film directed by Asit Sen

Uttar Falguni is a 1963 Indian Bengali-language drama film directed by Asit Sen and produced by Uttam Kumar, starring Suchitra Sen in a double role, Bikash Roy and Dilip Mukherjee. At the 11th National Film Awards, the film was awarded the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali. The film was remade by director Asit Sen himself in Hindi, as Mamta (1966) again with Suchitra Sen as the lead. The film was also remade in Tamil as Kaaviya Thalaivi (1970), and in Malayalam as Pushpanjali (1972).

Bipasha is a 1962 Indian Bengali-language drama film starring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen. and directed by Agradoot. The film is based on a novel titled "Bipasha" by Sri Tarashankar Bandyopadhay.

Tarun Kumar Chatterjee

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<i>Mahanayak</i> (TV series)

Mahanayak was a Bengali mini-television drama series of 99 episode that premiered on June 27, 2016 and aired at 7:00 pm on Star Jalsha. The series starred Prosenjit Chatterjee, Paoli Dam, Tanushree Chakraborty, Priyanka Sarkar, Manali Dey, Biswanath Basu and Biswajit Chakraborty in lead roles. The series is loosely based on the life of megastar Uttam Kumar.

<i>Bagh Bondi Khela</i> 1975 film

Bagh Bondi Khela is a 1975 Indian Bengali-language thriller drama film directed by Pijush Bose and produced by Asima Bhattacharya based on a novel of Prafulla Roy. This movie is believed to be Uttam Kumar’s best appearance as an antagonist.

Pathey Holo Deri is a 1957 Bengali film directed by Agradoot.The film has been music composed by Robin Chatterjee. The film starring Shishir Batabyal, Anil Bhattacharya, Mihir Bhattacharya, Chhabi Biswas, Bharati Devi, Chandrabati Devi, Jahar Ganguli, Anup Kumar, Shyam Laha, Gopal Majumdar, Chitra Mandal, Suchitra Sen, Sova Sen, Kamala Mukherjee, and Uttam Kumar in the lead roles.

References

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