Today it’s his 96th birthday. He was one of the best comedians of Bengali cinema. A tribute to the greatest comedian, Bhanu Bandyopadhay, on his birthday.
He was from the golden era of Bengali cinema where comedy was ruler. Bhanu Bandyopadhyay created a type in humor at a time when he had hard competition from the best amongst comedians in Bengali cinema starting with his ancestors and enduring into his generation of actors. There are talented predecessors and peers among them like Tulsi Chakraborty, Nripati Chatterjee, Nabadwip Haldar, Haridhan Mukherjee, Shyam Laha and a lot more.
Bhanu Bandyopadhyay’s former name was Samyamoy Bandyopadhyay but his nickname, Bhanu, stuck to him even after he passed away. He was born on 26th August 1920 in East Bengal (Bangladesh), Dakshin Moishundu village, Dacca district. He went to Pogose School and St. Gregory’s High school and Jagannath College afterward.
Bhanu was enforced to leave Dhaka in 1941. He joined the Iron & Steel Control office in Kolkata and served them for 15 years.
Though he became a legendary figure in Bengali cinema, he began his career as an actor with the stage.
He started as a standup comedian in Dhaka. He released his first comic gramophone record ‘Dhakar Gadoane’ in 1943. Its success encouraged him to release a new record every year in Durga Puja. He founded ‘Uttar Sarothi’, an amateur theatre group the same year, and performed its first production ‘Notun Ihudi’.
Through the time he was graduated, he was solidly established in amateur theatre. While he was a student of Class VI, he performed in Amod Dasgupta’s ‘Bonobir’. The appreciation of the performance prompted him to go on in small plays and with small comic skits at neighborhood programs till he turned famous as Chanakya in the historical play ‘Chandragupta’. He continued this with another important role in ‘Siraj-ud-Daulah’ directed by Girish Ghosh.
His first appearance on screen was in 1946, ‘Jagoron’. His entry into the professional career began in 1950 with ‘Adarsha Hindu Hotel’. In 1952, he got the breakthrough film role as a Bangal businessman in Nirmal Dey’s ‘Basu Parivar’. The next year his character as ‘Kedar’ in ‘Share Chuattar’ made him go up to fame. His quote in the film, “Mashima, malpoa khamu.” (Aunty, I want to eat malpoa) became a well-liked catchphrase.
His famous films among over 300 movies are ‘Boshu Poribar’, ‘Bhranti Bilash’, ‘Pasher Bari’, ‘Bindur Chele’ and many more. He produced and directed rip-roaring comedies with a message hidden behind the fun and the laughter, such are, ‘Miss Priyambada’, ‘Personal Assistant’, ‘Aashitey Ashiona’, and ‘Jomaloye Jibonto Manush’. These films have stood the test of time that can make people laugh till date.
He teamed up with his best friend comedian Jahor Roy for many films like Bhanu pelo lottery, Bhanu goyenda jahar assistant etc, where Bhanu played the East Bengali ‘Bangal’ while Jahar played the ‘ghoti’ of Calcutta. He was awarded as the Best Comedian eleven times. His most famous play was ‘Joy Ma Kali Boarding’ that ran for three years at Rangana Theatre and again for six months at Rang Mahal.
Bhanu Bandopadhyay had never worn make-up and he didn’t need to. Nor did he care about costumes and ‘looks’. His shirt-dhoti mixture defined his different style that was the same as he was in real life. His wide-open eyes with surprise in them complementing a poker face and funny body language with bangal-peppered dialogue made him a star among his peers and celluloid stars like Uttam Kumar.
Though this year on 4th march we commemorated his 33rd death anniversary but I say the comic legend is immortal in Bengalis’ heart.