Every film lover fondly remembers Mahapurush aka Birinchi Baba aka the man who gave Einstein the E=mc2. But do you know about the master actor who played the role?
Mahapurush is perhaps the most well known film of Charuprakash Ghosh. He was an actor extraordinaire whose field of work was only on stage. He was a passionate and respected theatre personality of his time. It was upon the request of Satyajit Ray that he agreed to play the role on-screen.
Charuprakash Ghosh was born in 1913 and was the elder brother of ace musician, Gyan Prakash Ghosh. He was involved in the foundation of Gana Natya Sangha.
Although Charuprakash Ghosh did few films, that too upon Ray’s insistence, he excelled in each of those. Here are five of his marvellous film roles.
Sukharam in Abhijaan
Abhijaan is a landmark film for many reasons. Soumitra Chatterjee’s role had been the inspiration for the unforgettable Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. While Ray and Soumitra get all the kudos, it was Charuprakash Ghosh who stole the award for his acting.
Ghosh’s role as Sukharam, the Marwari businessman is real to the core. He brings to life the disgusting man who is dishonest in every angle and traffics poor women. Just as bad as the character sounds – just as excellent Charuprakash Ghosh was in its portrayal.
Mama in Baksho Badal
Charuprakash Ghosh excelled again in the supporting role as Amita’s mama (maternal uncle). He is the retired Professor of Botany in Kalimpong where Pramod (Soumitra Chatterjee) arrives. Pramod wants to woo Amita and warming up with mama, things get easier.
Nanda Babu in Aparajito
Charuprakash Ghosh again delivers a chilling role as Nanda Babu. While Apu’s father Harihar gets bedridden with fever, the villainous Nanda Babu tries to get sleazy. If Sarbajaya, Apu’s mother portrays the strong willed Indian lady, Nanda Babu is the typical middle aged psychopath who roams freely in the society.
Lawyer in Kharij
Kharij is an Mrinal Sen classic. This was a path breaking film which depicted the pitiable living condition of servants of the house. A boy servant dies in a middle class family because he did not have a proper place to sleep in winter. Police carry out a postmortem and the family resorts to a lawyer, played by Charuprakash Ghosh. What no one told them on face, the lawyer picks and tells each of their mistake and negligence that led to the boy’s death.
Birinchi Baba in Mahapurush
No one knows how old Birinchi Baba is. He taught Manu, he argued with Plato and saw Jesus being crucified. He guided Buddha and Einstein. He can manipulate the sun – can bring its ‘voltage’ up or down. He likes hippo meat….
Mahapurush by Satyajit Ray has the most famous role by Charuprakash Ghosh. This character is perhaps the best measure of his acting prowess – making this film truly watchable hundreds of times. Had it not been for Birinchi Baba we would not have known this wonderfully great actor of our times.