6 All Time Classics Inspired From Bengali Literature

6 All Time Classics Inspired From Bengali Literature

1 Oct 15 @ 3:29 PM
Great storytellers often tell stories that can be easily adapted and Bengali writers have always managed to charm both the literature fanatic classes and the masses alike. From Nobel laureate writer Rabindranath Tagore to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the list is quite endless. So, it comes as no surprise when movies use the same plot to recreate the magic on celluloid. Here is a list of such literary contributions responsible for being a forceful cinematic inspiration to various filmmakers.
  • Devdas

    Devdas is a Bengali romance novel by celebrated writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay written in 1901. The story revolves around Devdas, a young man from a wealthy Bengali Brahmin family in India in the early 1900s and Paro (Parvati) is a young woman from a middle class Bengali family living in the same village and are childhood friends. The book strongly depicts the prevailing societal customs in Bengal in the turn of 19th century, which becomes responsible for preventing the happy ending of a sincere love story. The movie has been adapted to various languages including Bengali, Hindi, Assamese, Telugu and Malayalam. The first adaptation was a silent film in 1927 by Naresh Mitra, followed by director P.C Barua with its Bengali, Assamese and Hindi interpretations. Then came Bimal Roy’s classic starring Dilip Kumar and Suchitra Sen in 1955. From the Telugu hit adaptation by director Vendantam Raghavaiahin 1953 to the 2002 year magnum opus by Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the subject has fascinated all. The most recent one of course being Anurag Kashyap with his DevD, which was a successful modern interpretation of the classic.
  • Parineeta

    Parineeta is a 1914 Bengali language novel written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and is set in Calcutta, India at the turn of the 20th century during the Bengal Renaissance. It is a novel of social protest which explores issues of that time period related to class and religion. Parineeta has been adapted to film a number of times. Director Pradeep Sarkar in 2005 converted into a Hindi film, based upon a screenplay by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, starring Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, and Vidya Balan. Sankoch (1976), directed by Anil Ganguly, starring Sulakshana Pandit and Jeetendra, then came Parineeta (1969) by Ajoy Kar, starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Moushumi Chatterjee. The classic adaptation of course remains by director Bimal Roy in 1953, starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari. The earliest screen adaptation being in 1942 by Pashupati Chatterjee. The story centers on a poor thirteen-year-old orphan girl, Lalita, who lives with the family of her uncle and an impending love triangle that assures tragedy in the wake of a number of misunderstandings.
  • Saheb Bibi Golam

    Saheb Bibi Golam is a Bengali novel written by Bimal Mitra (1912-1991) and is set in Calcutta, India during the last years of the nineteenth century. The novels depicts the sumptuous lifestyle and the decay of a feudal family. It is the story of Pateshwari aka Chhoto Bou, a woman who wants to experience romance, to be a real wife, to invent for herself and live a new kind of conjugality. But the book also tells the story of Calcutta, now Kolkata, and of all the people who lived there. The novel was adapted into Bengali film, in 1956, starring Kanu Banerjee, Chhabi Biswas and Uttam Kumar with Sumitra Devi playing the wife. A Hindi version, Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam released in 1962 starring Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt went on to become a huge hit.
  • Sujata

    Sujata is Bengali short story by writer Subodh Ghosh, which explored the situation of caste in India. The story has apt amount of realism with astonishing insight into the quirks of human nature and the way they play out in relationships, with a skillful touch of irony. It was successfully converted into a Hindi language film by Bimal Roy in 1959. The film starred Sunil Dutt and Nutan supported by Lalita Pawar and Shashikala. It was nominated into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, Golden Palm and won the National Film Awards (1959) All India Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film. It also went on to win Filmfare Awards for Best Actress, Best Director, Best Movie and Best Story Award for Subodh Ghosh. What is extraordinary about the story is the perceptive handling of the issue of caste prejudice and for Roy’s sensitive portrayal of a woman’s emotions.
  • Jatugriha

    This story by Subodh Ghosh has garnered intense popularity which fantastic screen adaptations by Bengali director Tapan Sinha and Gulzar’s sensitive adaptation called Ijaazat in 1987. It starred Rekha, Naseeruddin Shah and Anuradha Patel in leading roles, the film followed the story of couple who are separated and who accidentally meet in a railway station waiting room and discover some truths about their lives without each other. The film belongs to the art-house genre in India known as Parallel Cinema, and won two National Film Awards in the music category. The Bengali screen version of the film directed by Tapan Sinha, starring Uttam Kumar, equally sensitive and closer to the original story. Jatugriha literally means ‘the burnt home’, and indeed, what is remarkable about the film is the way in which it delineates marital discord. This is essentially a film about falling out of love. And its poignant residue, which the couple experience when they meet accidentally in the waiting room of a railway station, seven years after they parted ways. During that short time, as they catch up on their lives and share humorous stories of their past and laugh together. All of a sudden, a decade seems to melt away, but the train whistle jolts them back to their reality.
  • Kabuliwala

    Rabindranath Tagore’s story Kabuliwala, set in the early twentieth century Kolkata, which delicately explores the bonds of friendship, affection and then parting in the relationship between a middle-aged Pathan trader and a five year old Bengali girl. It is a simple tale of a father’s love for his daughter and the transfer of that love to another little girl. It is a love that transcends the borders of race, religion and language. The film belongs to the art-house genre in India known as Parallel Cinema and won two National Film Awards in the music category. In 1957 Bengali film director Tapan Sinha adapted it on screen. Then again in 1961 a Hindi film was directed by Hemen Gupta, starring Balraj Sahni, Usha Kiran, Sajjan, Sonu and Baby Farida. The simple story of Kabuliwala is about the affection between Abdur Rahamat Khan, an Afghani immigrant dry-fruit-seller in Calcutta and Mini, a girl who he imagines as his child-figure in memory of his daughter, Amina left behind in Kabul. This story, unlike many other Tagore-inspired films that are more strongly rooted in context and period, offers a more distinctive perspective on humanism and identity. It was published as a short story in Sadhana, a Bangla literary magazine he edited through the 1890s and the early decades of the twentieth century. The story was later translated from Bangla into English by the Irish woman Margaret Elizabeth Noble, more popularly known to the world as Sister Nivedita, and published in the Modern Review.
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