Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Bengali cinema’s legend Uttam Kumar’s life was yet to be explored and there are many ‘inspiring stories’ apart from ‘scandals’ in the life of the glorious actor, a film director who saw the actor very closely said here on Monday.
“Uttam Kumar was not the person who only roamed around with women. His life was not just about scandals. There are so many inspiring stories about his life, his struggle and how he carried the Bengali film industry on his shoulders is commendable,” Probir Roy told IANS on the sidelines of the trailer launch of his upcoming Bengali docu-feature on the late matinee idol ‘Jete Nahi Debo'(Will not let you go), on the eve of his 38th death anniversary.
The film will release in September. Uttam Kumar was born on September 3, 1926, as Arunkumar Chattopadhyay.
“There is no concrete work on the legend’s life, there is no archive. I got to see Uttam Kumar closely for eight years from 1972-1980. I visited his residence often. When Supriya Devi was alive, after a word with her, I tried to document whatever I have seen with my own eyes,” said Roy.
According to Roy, he has tried to bring out various facts based on Kumar’s life. “Everyone may not be satisfied with my work and it is not even possible as different people have a different perspective of him.”
Sharing his experience, Sujan Mukherjee, the actor who plays the legend, said: “It is a great honour as he was a great actor and my hero since childhood. I liked the script as it is very real. There are no gossips and masala.”
“While working I learnt how Uttam Kumar controlled his habit of smoking. He used to have a cigarette packet in front, took one and had a small fag without lighting it. I used it in the film,” said Mukherjee.
Uttam Kumar loved music, he played the harmonium, he composed songs and he had his own production.
“His life was a magnum opus. He did so much for the welfare of Bengali film industry. He made a trust for the technicians,” added Mukherjee.
Mallika Sinha Roy who plays Supriya Devi, Uttam Kumar’s live-in partner and a leading actress, said: “This is a milestone in my career. I never tried copying the legendary actress Supriya Devi as it won’t have been possible. I have tried to portray the chemistry between her and Uttam Kumar.”
The glamorous on and off-screen persona of Supriya Devi made her one of the most accomplished actresses of Bengali films. She has been acclaimed for her performances in in a large number of films including the Ritwik Ghatak classic “Meghe Dhaka Tara” (1960).
With a legion of fan following in Bengal and Bangladesh, Uttam Kumar churned out more than 200 films in a career spanning the golden age of Bengali cinema form the 1950s to the 1970s. The national award winner worked with filmmakers like Satyajit Ray and Tapan Sinha. His most notable Hindi film was “Amanush”.
He died July 24, 1980, after a heart attack while filming “Ogo Bodhu Sundori”.