It is the 44th death anniversary of one of the greatest directors that Bollywood has ever seen, Bimal Roy, fondly known as ‘Bimalda’. Born on July 12, 1909, he is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zameen, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, making him an important director of Hindi cinema.
He entered films as a cameraman with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd. where he photographed films like Devdas in 1935 and Mukti in 1937. His first film as director was Udayer Pathey in 1944 in Bengali, which was remade as Humrahi in 1945 in Hindi. The film was a big critical success. Right from his first film, Bimalda was able to introduce a realism and subtlety suited to the cinema.
For Bombay Talkies, Maa (1952) was the first film. He then made Parineeta, based on a Sarath Chandra story, in 1953 before forming his own production unit and making his breakthrough film, Do Bigha Zameen in the same year. When the film opened to stunned audiences in India and abroad, it was instantly recognized as Hindi cinema’s foray into neo-realism. It was even awarded at the Cannes and Karlovy Vary film festivals.
When Bimal da went on stage to accept his Filmfare trophies for this film in dhoti, kurta and chappals, Bombay’s upscale film coterie raised a hue and cry. From Do Bigha Zameen in 1953, Bimalda had built up an enormous body of creative work, which culminated in 1963 with the absolute best, Bandini. Bandini, which tells the story of a woman prisoner charged with murder, is considered to be by many his finest work, even ahead of Do Bigha Zameen.
He won two Filmfare hat-tricks as best director (in two spells of 3 consecutive years each), and one best picture award (a total of 8 Filmfare awards in his career. Bimalda's last production before he died was Benazir (1964) directed by S Khalil. He was working on a project to star Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore, when he passed away in 1966 after a long illness leaving behind an unmatched and unequalled cinematic legacy.
- With inputs from News Tomorrow