Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore.
Uttam Kumar was the greatest superstar of the Bengali silver screen and was in one way one-man-industry. When he performed in bollywood films, Sharmila Tagore was the actress who complimented his romantic performance with her soft performance.
The pair had been very successful in the film Amanush, directed by Shakti Samanta. The film was based on the life of villagers of Sunderbans. There was fishing community who faced a lot of oppression from the zaminders. Utpal Dutt played the role of the villain who created misunderstanding in the minds of Sharmila Tagore which resulted in deterioration of relationship with Uttam Kumar. Anil Chatterji, the police officer in the film investigated the matter and ultimately helped Uttam Kumar to establish his innocence. The songs composed by Shyamal Mitra and sung by Kishore and Asha became very successful. In fact, Kishore Kumar got the filmfare award for the best singer in the year for the song “dil aisa kisine mera tora” from Amanush. Uttam Kumar was brilliant in giving lips in songs all through his career, so he did a great job in this song also. The Bengali version of the film Amanush, released in 1974, also was successful.
In Anand Ashram, Uttam Kumar played the role of a doctor. He had differences with his father played by Ashok Kumar that led to leaving his ancestral house and settling in a village. He married Sharmila Tagore and she helped him in fulfilling his goal of providing adequate healthcare to rural persons. But Sharmila died while giving birth to her son. Rakesh Roshan played the role of the son and ultimately bridged the gap between Uttam Kumar and Ashok Kumar in the film. The songs in the film was again successful.
Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore were sublime in the film Dooriyan. It was also based on family relationship. Both of them loved each other and gave birth to two children and misunderstanding between them led to separation and each of them lived with one child. The children missed the other parents and both Sharmila and Uttam Kumar never wanted to compromise but ended their misunderstanding at the end of the film. Bhupinders Singh’s song “zindagi zindagi”, and “zindagi me jab tumhare gham nahi the” composed by Jaidev became very successful. Uttam Kumar and Sharmila acted together in Bengali films like Nayak, directed by Satyajit Ray, Shesh Anka, Jadubanghsha, etc. the films should be restored for immense filmic value.
By: CR Chatterji.