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And They Made Classics – Director-Writer Duo of Bimal Roy and Nabendu Ghosh

November 11, 2017 | By

Directed by Ratnottama Sengupta, And They Made Classics goes behind-the-scenes through an interview with Nabendu Ghosh that was taken in 2005 where he talks about his association with Bimal Roy. The film explores behind the scenes stories about the casting, the arguments, the reactions, the way they worked, along with clips, stills, documents.

Nabendu Ghosh shared a unique bonding with his “film guru” Bimal Roy. In 1951, when the celluloid master left Kolkata to make Maa for Bombay Talkies, he took the literatteur with him. And his last film Bandini, awarded at Karlovy Vary in 1964, was scripted by the screen playwright. In between they created timeless films like Baap Beti, Parineeta, Naukri, Biraj Bahu, Devdas, Yahudi and Sujata. How did the writer-director duo work? And what made their association work?

And They Made Classics  –  this 59 minute film on the master of screen writing Nabendu Ghosh and his association with legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy, will be screened at Kolkata International Film Festival on 16 Nov 4.15 pm at the Sisir Manch, Nandan.

Directed by Ratnottama Sengupta, And They Made Classics goes behind the scenes through an interview with Nabendu Ghosh that was taken in 2005 when Joy Bimal Roy made ‘Remembering Bimal Roy’.  Ghosh talked about his association with Bimal Roy, the behind-the-scenes stories about the casting, the arguments, the reactions, the way they worked. Ratnottama revisits the stories in this Centennial Tribute, along with clips, stills, documents.

Nabendu Ghosh speaking at the closing ceremony of the Sarat Centenary Celebrations in Mumbai (1966). Seated from left to right are – Hiten Chowdhury (elder brother of Sankho Chowdhury), Dina Pathak, Basu Bhattacharya, Kamini Kaushal , Nitin Bose and Dilip Kumar
Nabendu Ghosh is possibly the only scriptwriter to write the script/screenplay for five Sarat Chandra stories that were adapted in Hindi cinema – Devdas, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Majhli Didi and Swami.

An additional layer has colleagues Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Nutan, Dilip Kumar, Gulzar, and students Jaya Bachchan, Saeed Mirza, Girish Kasaravalli and others talking about the writer’s art and his contribution in moulding the New Indian Cinema. This makes the film a storehouse of anecdotes and information of archival value, giving a sketch of Indian films/ Bombay cinema through 50s, 60s up to 70s..

Ratnottama Sengupta

In an interview to Silhouette, Ratnottama had revealed many little known facets about Nabendu Ghosh.  “Even today, people do not know what is screenplay. The stars, director, music composer, singers, lyricist, even cameraperson, choreographer and editor are known but most people are not sure what exactly is the screenplay,” Ratnottama, renowned Arts Editor, Art Curator, Film Festival Curator, Author and the daughter of Nabendu Ghosh had said. In such a scenario, Nabendu Ghosh is one name that commands high respect from everyone from stars and filmmakers to novelists and literatteurs.

Roy and Ghosh had struck out paths in the Bombay film industry together when on the invitation of Ashok Kumar, the owner of Bombay Talkies, Bimal Roy got his team to Bombay. It was on 6th February, 1951 that Ghosh and Roy arrived together with Hrishikesh Mukherjee (as editor) and Asit Sen (as assistant director) to work on the Bombay Talkies film Maa.

Nabendu Ghosh

Soon the other talented technicians from Roy’s Calcutta team joined them including Salil Chowdhury (Music Director), Moni Bhattacharya and Debu Sen (Assistant Directors), Paul Mahendra (Dialogue Director), Kamal Bose and Dilip Ranjan Gupta (Cinematographers) and Biren Naug and Sudhendu Roy (Art Directors). Maa, in which the central role of an old and hapless mother was played by Leela Chitnis, had Shyama and Bharat Bhushan in romantic leads. Paul Mahendra played the role of ungrateful elder son of Maa. Ghosh was the only writer in the team. In other words, each member of this hugely talented and visionary team would move on to chalk out illustrious career paths, creating benchmarks in their respective fields for Indian cinema.

The rest is history and a glimpse of that teamwork and craftsmanship is captured in this film.

All pictures used in this story are courtesy Ratnottama Sengupta

Nabendu Ghosh: The Master of Screen Writing

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