Contribution of Basu Chatterji in Indian films.
Basu Chatterji, along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar, Basu Bhattacharya and many other thoughtful directors of the 70s, had created a middle path in the depiction of life of Indians in bollywood films. Their films were related to the stories of the common man, especially the middle-class who never had larger than life image or were associated with miracles.
His film Rajnigandha, having Amol Palekar and Vidya Sinha in the lead roles were related to the life of a middle class person who was committed towards his job and his affair with next door girl. The submissiveness of Amol Palekar depicted the general feelings of middle-class Indians all across the country. Salil Choudhury’s music in the film was extra-ordinary including Lata’s song “rajnigandha”.
In the mid-70s, Basu Chatterji came up with fresh subject in the film Chitchor. Amol Palekar and Zareena Wahb were used in the feeling and the story was based on the life of a new entrant in the picturesque village. The person got attached with the lives of the people in the village and also the landscape. The relationship of the person with Zarina Wahab developed instantly without any separate cause. The music composed by Ravindra Jain created a landmark in Indian music. Also fresh singers like Yesudas and Hemlata astonished the listeners with the innovative singing styles in the mid-70s with songs like “kahin deep jale”, “gori tera gaon bara pyara”, “tu jo mere sur me”, etc.
In the early 80s, Basu Chatterji came up with serio-comic subjects like the one depicted in the film Lakhon Ki Baat. Farooq Sheikh got struck by ball played in a hockey match and his relative played by Sanjeev Kumar made a claim for damages against the company that was involved with the organization of the match and with Farooq Sheikh. Although he did not receive any injury he was deliberately asked to lie in the hospital and also at home to convince the company. The company appointed Utpal Dutta as a photographer to keep watch on Farooq Sheikh and if proved to be alright would waive the damages.
Farooq Sheikh got fed up with play acting and through away the wheel chair and the hopes of getting damages by Sanjeev Kumar and Anita Raj (the previous wife of Farooq Sheikh) got dashed.
His other successful films include Piya Ka Ghar, Hamari Bahu Alka (with Rakesh Roshan and Utpal Dutta), Apne Paraye, Chameli Ki Shaadi. He also the comedy element in his films with simplicity. Probably Basu Chatterji and Hrishikesh Mukherjee had used the comedy impulse of Utpal Dutta in a most professional manner than other directors. Utpal Dutta had Indianised Shakespearean style of presentation of errors.
Modern directors can learn a lot from the realistic presentations of Basu Chatterji and his films should be preserved.