Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Uttam Kumar's Chowrangee astonished the literary community

Uttam Kumar’s Chowrangee astonished the literary community.

Uttam Kumar’s acting versatility reached the intellectuals of Bengal by mid-60s. His films including Tapan Sinha’s Jotugriha, Satyajit Ray’s Nayak, Ajoy’s Kar’s Saptapadi, ended up being cine-classics which had paved the way for thoughtful filmmaking in the later years. Chowrangee was the landmark literature of writer Shankar which was given expression by director Pinaki Mukherjee.

Released in 1968, the film was related to the life of Grand Hotel in Kolkata. Uttam Kumar was the receptionist of the five star hotel, better known as Sata Bose. Subhendu Chatterji got a job as another receptionist in Grand Hotel, who was groomed and trained by Uttam Kumar.

The striking part of the film lied in the depiction of numerous weird characters in the film who visited Grand Hotel during the 50s and 60s and whose activities could be predicted by Uttam Kumar with his profound experience in the hotel industry. Utpal Dutta played the role of Marco Polo, one of the members of the management of Grand Hotel. He gave the job to Subhendu Chatterji due to request of Dipak Mukherjee whom he knew very well.

The character artists played significant role in the film. Biswajeet Chatterji played the role of Mr. Pakrasi, the son of Deepti Ray, who fell in love with Supriya Choudhury in the film. Bhanu Banerjee played the role of employee in Grand Hotel, Jahar Roy played the role of Chief Chef in the film, Prashanto Kumar played the role of the Violin Player in the film.

Uttam Kumar fell in love with Anjana Bhowmick, an air-hostess who came to visit Grand Hotel a number of times. But at the end of the film when Uttam Kumar left the job and planned to go and settle in Mumbai after marrying Anjana Bhowmick, the last flight of Anjana Bhowmick crashed and the hopes of Uttam Kumar also crashed with the accident.

Ashima Bhattacharya, the producer in the film composed a landmark song for Manna Dey. The song was titled “meghero khela akasho pare”. The remained as one of the greatest hit songs sung by Manna Dey for Uttam Kumar.

The film Chowrangee should be preserved and restored for the classic literature, powerful direction, realistic performances and brilliant music.

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