Kali Banerjee was an artist extraordinaire. He is truly the Paras Pathar of Bengali cinema. Whichever role he played, he turned it to a golden performance.
He is the actor who has worked with all these global maestros – Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen. Do we need to say anything more?
Any film lover would say that when an actor is appreciated by such colossal directors – that is his greatest achievement. In comparison, even an Oscar would seem insignificant.
Kali Banerjee is one of those strong pillars on which Bengali cinema saw its Golden Age. With fellow geniuses like Bikash Roy and Tulsi Chakraborty, Kali Banerjee has truly created milestones in global cinema.
In conclusion, Kali Banerjee was a gem in every setting. Thus, it is a daunting task to pick his best roles. See our list and feel free to tell yours –
We have to start with this. His role as the taxi driver simply redefined our outlook towards them. Here we see Kali Banerjee in a comedy dramatic role where he loves Jagaddal. Jagaddal is his 1920 Chevrolet jalopy which he uses as his taxi. He talks to Jagaddal, he treats him like another fellow being.
While we mostly see Indian films inspired by the West, this was rather the opposite. Ritwik Ghatak’s Ajantrik has inspired many Western films and characters. It was the earliest film based on science fiction where a car was portrayed more than just an inanimate object.
Neel Akasher Neechey
Some would call this the best of Kali Banerjee. He is Wang Lu, a Chinese immigrant in Kolkata. He meets Basanti, a beautiful Bengali lady and is drawn towards her. His performance in this movie is nothing short of epic.
This Mrinal Sen film is set in the strenuous times of India’s struggle for Independence and has political overtone. Due to this it was the first Indian film that was banned. But the ban was revoked after two years.
Furthermore, in this Satyajit Ray classic we see Kali Banerjee as the lovelorn secretary. He swallowed the Paras Pathar in an attempt to kill himself. Paras Pathar was a brilliant film in many aspects. But Tulsi Chakraborty and Kali Banerjee were the icing on the cake.
In conclusion, we are shocked to see the Paras Pathar or the Philosopher’s Stone wasted away. But just like the protagonists, we realize that the real magic is what shines within us.
Nagarik is a another milestone in film making. Not only in India but also globally. Enigmatically it was the first film of Ritwik Ghatak but which was released years after he passed away. It also has the honour of being the first art film of Bengali cinema.
All these laurels belong to the talented team of Riwik Ghatak and Kali Banerjee.
We will end this list with a comic note with Kali Banerjee in Barjatri. Here he wins our heart as Gansha, the stammering village lad. This classy comedy film was directed by Satyen Bose. Barjatri is probably one of the best made comedy films in the history of Bengali cinema.