Tapan Sinha is one of those legendary film directors who took Indian cinema to towering standards. Awarded nationally and internationally, his films have stood the test of time and are considered the milestones of Indian cinema. Tapan Sinha is one of those legendary directors who stands tall among Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak.
Tapan Sinha made a mark not only in Bengali but also in Hindi and Oriya cinema arena. He had been to England for a few years working and learning the then filmmaking trends. He came back to India and used what he learnt but in his own unique way. He was inspired by American filmmaking too.
He made his films in India which were based on a panorama of subjects. His films would portray from children’s fantasy to social issues; condition of labourers to what goes in a family. Always catchy with a wonderful plot, each film of Tapan Sinha is a delight to watch.
Bengali movies of Tapan Sinha casting Soumitra Chattopadhyay
In his career of sixty years, one of the favourite actors of Tapan Sinha was Soumitra Chattopadhyay. When a great director gets a master actor, the result is a work of art.
There have been just a handful of Soumitra films directed by Tapan Sinha but each is worth watching multiple times. Here are those movies.
Rabindranath Tagore’s story, Tapan Sinha as director and Soumitra Chattopadhyay as the lead role – a magnum opus of a movie. Kshudito Pashan, ‘the Hungry Stones’ is one of the foremost examples of how magic can be created using just light and shadows. Even in the age of 3D and graphic animation, this black and white reel of a film beats any film hands down. It shows what a great director can do with a basic camera.
This was the first time Soumitra was cast in a Tapan Sinha movie. This 1960 movie has unforgettable background music by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. The female lead is played by Arundhati Devi, his wife.
Kshudito Pashan is a truly one of a kind film in all aspects. Soumitra plays a young tax collector who has been posted far away from in a small town. The people of the town are warm-hearted and caring but they are reluctant to let Soumitra stay at the old palace. The old palace now serves as the rest house by the government. The locals believe it is haunted. As the plot reveals, perhaps nothing in the universe is a coincidence and the young tax collector soon has too much in his hands to handle sanely.
Kshudito Pashan is one of the best films in terms of filmmaking, direction, acting, music and plot. It is an asset in global cinema. Kshudito Pashan received the National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film in 1960.
Atanka is one of those few Bengali films that are based on a true story. Soumitra Chattopadhyay is the middle aged school teacher who witnesses a murder. Unfortunately he identifies them culprits as they were his former students. As it goes, the culprits try to scare off the eye witness by continuous threats against his family and his life. The honest teacher is split between his ethics and safety of his family. At last, he realizes that the more you get terrified, the more you will be made so. The answer is to stand up for what you believe is right.
This movie of Tapan Sinha is probably the most controversial one as this is based on true events. One could really feel the chills of terror in this aptly named film.
Antardhan hits us hard with a cruel truth of human trafficking. Tapan Sinha has based some of his films on true events – not for entertainment but also to alert in its own way.
The plot revolves on the true incident of a missing woman. Soumitra Chatterjee plays Professor Sushobhan Mukherjee and Madhabi Mukherjee, his spouse. One fine day, their daughter disappears without a trace. Upon police investigation, it reveals that she has eloped with her lover. However, it turns out that the girl has been brainwashed in love and made to elope while in reality, she has been turned into a call girl. Amidst police corruption, the parents would have to control their pain and worries to get their daughter back.
It is worth mentioning that along with Soumitra Chatopadhyay we also get to see another legendary actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty. Both the actors have graced the screen as beloved detective Feluda. Antardhan was also Sabyasachi Chakraborty’s first film.
Soumitra Chattopadhay plays the strong role of a neurologist in this acclaimed movie. The plot is based on a woman who faces an sexual assault and accident that makes her paralytic physically and crippled in hope for life. The doctor himself struggles with his handicap but he is determined to find a way for her to get back to health and life.
Soumitra’s depiction as the doctor had set a new level of acting in Bengali cinema.
Ajab Ganyer Ajab Katha
Finally a lighter movie in this list. Literally it translates to ‘a strange story of a strange village’.
Ajab Gayer Ajab Katha was based on the story written by distinguished Bengali writer Shirsendu Mukhopadhay by the name Nabiganjer Daityo. This film in 1998 was also the last movie that was completed by Tapan Sinha in his illustrious career.
Soumitra Chatterjee is the King, Birchandra, who is carefree and laid-back, without any worries about the royal treasures. His blithe becomes a cause for worry for his well wishers who fear that miscreants can misuse the king’s attitude. Their fears do come true.
As always, Shirsendu Mukhopadhay’s stories are full of layers, depicting the good and the bad in an exceptional way. This fantasy film is equally enjoyed by children and adults.
Related: When Soumitra wanted to be Goopy
Under the direction of Tapan Sinha, this time we get to see the versatility of Soumitra Chattopadhyay. The gentle and romantic actor is now the cruel and deceitful Mayurbahan. The film was based on a story by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay which was loosely based on Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda.
Jhinder Bandi portrayed two most loved actors of Bengali cinema – Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chattopadhyay. Uttam Kumar plays a double role as the wasted prince of Jhind, a kingdom in Madhya Pradesh. His brother Tarun Kumar also plays the screen character as his conspiring brother. Uttam’s second role is that of a rescuer who saves the kingdom and get its reins into the right hands. Sinha’s wife Arundhati wife plays the role of the beautiful princess.
When Soumitra played this role pitted against Uttam Kumar, he was comparatively a newcomer in the Bengali films. His superb acting skills won over the film lovers’ hearts. It is one of those few films where we see the romantic serene actor in a negative role. Soumitra accomplished this feat with equal finesse.
- Hoeto Tomari Jonyo – Probably the most romantic song ever sung
- Khirki theke singha duyar – Soumitra’s heartrending song in Stree
Here is a wonderful video of Tapan Sinha and his work. See veteran actors like Ashok Kumar and Soumitra Chattopadhyay speak about the director.