A good story cannot be bound by man-made borders.
During the black and white era of film making, there have been many remarkable tales that have been made into films by both Bengali and Hollywood filmmakers. In the passage of time, several times both the sides have acknowledged and taken inspiration from each other and have made films on the same story.
However, do not expect the story to remain exactly the same. Some are retellings and some are inspirations. Also, a localized version will have many modifications to suit their audience.
Here are some such films that have been made in both Bengali and in Hollywood –
Jhinder Bandi & The Prisoner of Zenda
Jhinder Bandi is one of the most well remembered black and white Bengali films. The charismatic Uttam Kumar pitting against the handsome Soumitra is all we ever want.
Jhinder Bandi was based upon a novel by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay which was actually a retelling of the novel Prisoners of Zenda by Anthony Hope. The Hollywood film The Prisoner of Zenda was made in 1937 and again in 1952 and the Bengali version was released in 1961.
Jay Jayanti & Sound of Music
This film will be a super hit as many times as it will be made. Julie Andrews and Chris Plummer starred Sound of Music was a landmark Hollywood film released in 1965.
While Sound of Music won five Academy Awards, here Uttam Kumar and Aparna Sen also won our hearts hands down in Jay Jayanti. Top it with Sandhya Mukherjee’s songs and Jay Jayanti becomes truly magical.
Aparichito & The Idiot
Aparichito was a 1969 film with an exciting cast of Uttam Kumar, Utpal Dutta, Aparna Sen, Sandhya Roy and Soumitra Chatterjee. The film was based on the novel The Ediot by the famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Strictly speaking, Hollywood has not yet made a version of it but The Ediot had been adapted as a film in Japanese by legendary director Akira Kurosawa in 1951. In 1958, a Russian version was made by Ivan Pyryev and in 2003, a TV series was made on it.
Ogo Bodhu Sundari & My Fair Lady
We have to thank George Bernard Shaw for his magnificent drama ‘The Pygmalion’. It was the Pygmalion that became Ogo Bodhu Sundari in Bengali and My Fair Lady in Hollywood. Both of these movies still remain extremely popular, and have entertained millions around the globe.
Abhijaan & Taxi Driver
These two films are one of the biggest names of extraordinary film making. Satyajit Ray created Abhijaan in 1962. Soumitra Chatterjee played the lead as Narsingh, the taxi driver. This character and the film is said to have influenced another master, Martin Scorsese. He drew inspiration from this film to make his landmark movie, Taxi Driver. This 1976 movie starring Robert De Niro remains one of the most memorable films ever made, just like Abhijaan.
Ajantrik by the master filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak is a father film for many others. Just like Abhijaan, this was also a footing for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. It was one of the earliest science fiction films ever made.
It was also the first movie that portrayed and built a driver-car friendship. This later became the basis of the super hit films of Herbie, the racing car. The Chevrolet Jalopy became the role model for the Volkswagen Beetle!