Bimal da films are still relevant
101 years to the day he was born, Bimal Roy and his films are still relevant, witness the screening of Madhumati at the ongoing Toronto Film Festival. Among the pioneers that ushered in parallel cinema or Indian New Wave to counter musical films, Bimal Roy’s films with their strong social themes such as Do Bigha Zamin, Sujata, Bandhini even Devdas, have been acknowledged by many as “theorems” in film making.
Many experts and industry insiders say that Bimalda, as he was popularly known, remains a “master” to them till this day. They admit they watch and study his films to pick the subtleties and nuances so as to re-enact them in their own films. “He belongs to that class of directors like Amiya Chakravorty , initial Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan , where they could communicate with the masses,” says Javed Akhtar , Bollywood lyricist.
Pioneers of parallel cinema included Satyajit Ray , Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Mrinal Sen, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Chetan Anand, Guru Dutt and V. Shantaram. Their body of works is known as much for their technical brilliance as their artistic simplicity and thematic grandeur.
Born into a zamindari family in Suapur, then part of the Bengal province of British India, Bimal Roy began his career as a cameraman with New Theatres Studios. He worked as assistant director with PC Barua on the film Devdas, which had KL Saigal as the lead actor. Roy made his directorial debut with Udaye Pathe in 1944, a Bengali film. It was remade into a Hindi film called Humrahi later.