Today is the 94th birth anniversary of legendary Bengali film actor Uttam Kumar. Different socio-cultural organisations have arranged elaborate programmes in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India to mark the day.
Besides, satellite television channels of both the countries will air various programmes to pay tribute to the late iconic superstar of the silver screen.Uttam Kumar was born as Arun Kumar Chatterjee at his ancestral home in Kolkata on September 3 in 1926. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and classic actors of Indian cinema and known as Mahanayak.
He remains as much of a cultural icon. Through his career he has earned commercial as well as critical adulation.
He is admired as the iconic superstar of Bengali cinema of all time. Besides carving a niche in the filmdom; the superstar was a singer, composer, lyricist and director - all at once. Uttam earned fame through producing at least seven films alongside worked as singer, composer and director in another six films during his lifetime.
His first release film was ‘Drishtidan’ directed by Nitin Bose. He also worked in an earlier unreleased film titled ‘Mayador’. Then he acted in about four to five flims - all of which were flops.
He dubbed as the ‘Flop Master General’. When he used to enter the studio, people would laugh at him and pass comments like ‘Here comes the new Durgadas....Meet the new Chabbi Biswas...’.
He even considered leaving the world of cinema forever and would work at Calcutta Ports. But, his wife Gouri Chatterjee told him that it better not to do a job as his heart is not in it.He, later, got the contact at MP Studios for three years. The studios produced the film ‘Basu Paribar’ in which he came into the prominence, but his breakthrough film was ‘Agni Parikshain’ in 1954.
The film began the success of the all-time romantic pair of Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen, though they had first paired in ‘Sarey Chuattor’. It ran for a record 15 weeks and established Uttam in the industry.
Apart from Bengali, Uttam Kumar also acted in some Hindi films such as ‘Chhoti Si Mulaqat’, ‘Amanush’, ‘Anand Ashram’, ‘Dooriyaan’, ‘Bandie’ and ‘Kitaab’. But his towering contribution was to Bengali cinema and the Bengali film industry on the whole.
From 1947 to 1980, both in Bengali and Hindi, Uttam Kumar acted in 202 films. Of them, 39 were blockbusters, 57 were super hits, 57 made profits above the average and the rest flopped.
Uttam Kumar starrer popular films including 'Sharey Chuattar' (1953), 'Agni Pariksha' (1954), 'Shap Mochan' (1955), 'Sabar Uparey' (1955), 'Sagarika' (1956), 'Pathey Holo Deri' (1957), 'Indrani' (1958), 'Harano Sur' (1957), 'Saptapadi' (1961), and ‘Bhranti Bilas’ (1963).
Uttam Kumar breathed his last in the Belleveue Clinic in Kolkata on 24 July 1980 at the age of 53.