Jun 04, 2020, 03:43 PM IST
Mumbai. Renowned Hindi film director Basu Chatterjee died in Mumbai at the age of 90 on Thursday. An era came to an end with his demise. He was one of the few directors who showed the status of middle class families on the big screen. Apart from films, he also made his special place in TV serial. The special thing is that he did not do any kind of course related to directing or film-making. He started his career as a cartoonist in Blits magazine.
Basu Da was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, but he handled in Mathura. It was here that he studied till intermediate. Basu Da’s father was in the railway, so he used to transfer. In different interviews given at different times, he had told about his life journey. Which we are telling you about.
Was fond of watching movies since childhood
Basu Da was very fond of playing and watching cinema since childhood. He got fond of films because of his elder brother. He used to go to the movies with her since the age of seven. He said that in Mathura in those days there was only one theater and I used to watch all the movies used in it. He was good at reading, but he was more interested in playing and watching movies. According to Basu Da, in the family of four brothers and two sisters, the parents did not pressurize us to study.
Interest in direction came after coming to Mumbai
According to Basu Da, he was not interested in direction from the beginning, he used to watch movies like ordinary people. He said that his interest in direction came after a long time i.e. after coming to Mumbai. On coming here, he was associated with the ‘Film Society Movement’, where good films of different languages of the world are shown. Here he got the opportunity to watch films in French, German, Italian, Japanese and other languages besides Hollywood. After which his trend came towards making films.
‘Bicycle Thief’ and ‘Pather Panchali’ showed the way
According to Basu Da, a film came in those days, ‘Bicycle Thief’ was not shot in any studio, nor were there any experienced artists, everything was gathered from here and there, but even after that everyone was shocked to see it. Had gone. I also liked that very much. Within a few days, we saw that Satyajit Ray has made a film ‘Pather Panchali’. Before this it was that whatever good thing happens, it will be Italian or German. When Satyajit Ray made Pather Panchali, we opened our eyes that we can do this too, we got some encouragement, then we were inclined towards film direction.
Become director without any training
Basu moved to Mumbai after graduating from Mathura. When he started making films, there was not even a film institute in Poona and Calcutta. In such a way, there is no question of taking a course. He had told that in those days, all the Indian producers and directors, all of them had attained education by studying and becoming assistants. Basu himself had read all the books he received at that time before making the film. He said that I wanted to know how films are made.
Be an assistant in ‘third oath’
After reading a lot of books of film making, Basu Da came to know that his senior poet of school in Mathura, Shailendra, is going to start a film titled ‘Teesri Kasam’. After which they went to meet them and expressed their desire to work together. So Shailendra asked him to talk to the film’s director Basu Bhattacharya. Basu was then a cartoonist in the weekly magazine blitz, due to which people knew him and Bhattacharya ji also did fine. Basu was made directly the Chief Assistant in that film. He was accompanied by another assistant, whose name was Babulal Visharad.
It was a special compliment after the first film
Sara Akash was Basu Da’s first film as an independent director. He said that the film was made on the basis of the experience he got from watching films in different languages (French, German, Italian, Mexican) in different film societies. According to Basu Da, the best comment about that film was given to him by the then big director Chakravarti ji. He had said that Basu Da Hum people make films for the audience, but you have made this film for us. There was a lot to learn from this. According to Basu Da, the distributor of ‘Sara Akash’ was Rajshree, he also liked the film. After which he offered me my second film ‘Piya Ka Ghar’.
Basu Da’s favorite film was ‘Jeena Here’
Among his films made was Basu Da’s favorite film ‘Jeena Here’, which was based on Mannu Bhandari’s story ‘This is true’. Basu Da said that this film did not work, but still it was the closest to his heart and he liked it. He liked this film because in it he told a different kind of reality. According to him, people feel that happiness-prosperity-peace lies in the villages, nothing in the cities. While the story of that film was told upside down, fighting in cities can demand their right, take it, but the village is still grounded. Is being rubbed according to the old orthodox generations. If progress has taken place, it has only happened in cities.