Madhabi Mukherjee rules as one of the finest actresses till date. She is undoubtedly the Queen of expressions – she has probably played every subtle expression to the optimum.
Madhabi was born on 10 February 1942. Madhabi’s first film was at the age of eight. She acted in Premendra Mitra directed film, Kankantala Light Railway in 1950.
She started her professional acting life with theatre, as it was in vogue then. She had the privilege to work with great theatre personalities like Sisir Bhaduri, Ahindra Choudhuri and Nirmalendu Lahiri.
Madhabi was relatively less known when she did Baishey Shravan by Mrinal Sen. Even at such a young age, she impressed everyone with her mature acting skills. Set in the time of the Bengal famine, Baishey Shravan was a touching film.
It was a film quite ahead of its time. It was probably the first film in Indian cinema where the screenplay was so much woman-centered. It was a daunting challenge for any actor and Madhabi performed tour de force.
The most memorable act of Madhabi Mukherjee that remains etched in our mind is Charulata.
She has become synonymous and merged with Charu, the lonely wife.
No other artist would have been better suited for this role.
While Madhabi is most well known for her roles with Satyajit Ray, she has also worked with the other maestros like Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak and Tapan Sinha. In Ritwik Ghatak’s Subarnarekha, she has been highly applauded for her performance.
Whether it is Calcutta 71 by Mrinal Sen or Bancharamer Bagan by Tapan Sinha, Madhabi Mukherjee has won the hearts of viewers and critics every time.
She was honoured the National Film Award for Best Actress for the film Dibratrir Kabya.
Do we credit Madhabi’s acting prowess to the fact that she started her career in theatre and acted with giants of the stage like Sisir Bhaduri and Chhabi Biswas? Or is it that she was born with an inner talent?
Or maybe it was a burning desire and real hard work that made her the queen of acting. We never know because like all great people, the actress has been a humble, modest and graceful personality who has never blown her own trumpet.
The beauty of a woman like Charulata is largely the beauty of her mind. What I have tried to bring out is the richness of that mind. – Satyajit Ray
Madhabi Mukherjee has released her life story as her autobiography, Ami Madhabi. Perhaps one might find the answer there – that the beauty of Madhabi Mukherjee is largely the beauty and richness of her mind.