Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chabi Biswas – the towering personality of Bengali cinema.

Chabi Biswas – the towering personality of Bengali cinema.

By: CR Chatterji.

If any actor had transformed acting into creative arts and mesmerised the viewers with the dignity, aristocracy and majestic personality, it was Chabi Biswas. He was the most elegant personality ever to appear in both Bengali and Indian cinema. Directors had experimented with him knowing the fact that he could bring life in the most abstract and challenging roles in the history of Bengali cinema.

In Kabuliwala, his performance of an Afghan businessman who had left his daughter in Kabul and sold his produce in the streets of Kolkata helped Tapan Sinha to direct the classic literature of Tagore. He was attached with a small Bengali girl named Mini, who replicated his own daughter. The fatherly attachment, the involvement and the other emotions were expressed by Chabi Biswas with such a level of excellence that the film received international awards and acclamation from critics across the world. In Manik, the adaptation of Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens, Chabi Biswas was sublime in the role of a handicapped grandfather who knew that his grandson was alive and never delineated the property to any other person.

Chabi Biswas’s performance in Sabar Upare, where he was wrongly sentenced for committing murder, requires special mention. When the case was reopened and he was proved innocent he prayed before the court of law to return the 14 years of his life, when he languished in jail, he lost his youth, his lost his family, everything in life. Viewers were spellbound after his performance. Chabi Biswas had shown his level of excellence in the films of Satyajit Ray, namely Jalsaghar, Debi and Kanchenjungha, and in all these films viewers enjoyed the combination of the two dynamic personalities.

In Raj Kapoor’s Ekdin Ratre, Chabi Biswas played the role of a drunkard who gave lips in the song sung by Manna Dey and composed by Salil Chowdhury, “ei duniyay bhai sabi hai, sob sotyi”, where he told Raj Kapoor, about the unfair truth of life. Raj Kapoor was amazed to see the performance of the dynamic actor who also acknowledged that he had not seen a second actor having the depth of Chabi Biswas. In Jagte Raho, the same role was played by Motilal.

There were lot of films where Chabi Biswas had single handedly flabbergasted the viewers with his personality. He brought life in the historic film Dadathakur. He showed the pains of life after retirement of the karta of hindu undivided family in Shashibabur Shangsar. He was sublime in the film Head Master where the life of a middle-class academician was portrayed. In a tragic accident in 1962, India lost one of its greatest actors of all times, Chabi Biswas. It is difficult to highlight the greatness of the legend of legends in a small article as he provided blood and flesh in more than 250 films in a span of 25 years. The films have become masterpieces due to his dynamic performances and should be preserved for the next gener

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