Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bhanu Banerjee's performance was hilarious in Personal Assistant.

Bhanu Banerjee’s performance was hilarious in Personal Assistant.

Bhanu Banerjee used to be considered the greatest comic hero to have born in Indian films in the 50s and 60s. Personal Assistant was one of his biggest blockbusters during the black and white era. Chitrakar directed the film and Nochiketa Ghosh gave the brilliant music.

In that film Tarun Kumar, the friend of Bhanu Banerjee introduced him to many employers as he was jobless. He lost the job in a shop used for repairing radios. Then he applied in a firm named Gargi and Sons owned by Ruma Guhathakurta. Ruma only wanted female candidates in the post of personal assistant. But as Bhanu’s name was Rama Gupta, she thought it was a female name and called him for interview. He was both BSC, BCom. So qualified in the interview and got the job.

The terms of the company was that if the employee left the job within 5 years of appointment he had to return all his salary. If the employer sacked him he was supposed to pay the entire salary for the 5 years. Bhanu was a poet and asked Tarun Kumar to consult Tulshi Chakravarty, a Publisher who published written works of renowned writers. Tarun Kumar told a lie to Tusi Chakravarty that the poems were written by Minoti Mitra (Bhanu) who admired Tulsi Chakravarty. He agreed to publish his poems.

In the mean time Renuka, a rich lady appointed Bhanu Banerjee to play piano that she bought for her own liking. Bhanu tried to teach her to play the piano, but she failed. She organized a show where Bhanu was supposed to actually play the piano from the backstage and she was supposed to do playacting in front with another piano. Bhanu agreed to do it with the consideration of Rs 1000, the amount he had to return back to Ruma as he wanted to leave the job.

The entire drama ended in a mess, when Tulsi Chakravarty came to Bhanu’s house to give the Book of Poems, when Tarun Kumar told him that Minoti Mitra had died. A public gathering was organized where Tarun Kumar declared before the people that Bhanu was the poet who wrote with the petname Minoti Mitra.

All the comedy sequences ended up with romantic relationship between Bhanu and Ruma Guha Thakurta. The music of Nochiketa Ghosh was excellent with hit songs of Hemant Kumar and others like “k choleche kolkatae”, “tomade notun kuri”, “srichoronkomoleshu noi”, “ei besh bhalo”, etc. Some were catered towards the taste of children while others were romantic as well. Bhanu gave excellent lips in those songs.

All the artists in the film including Ruma Guha Thakurta, Tarun Kumar, Tulsi Chakravarty, Mita Chatterji, Pahari Sanyal, Renuka were sublime and the film ended up being super hit. It is still considered as a black and white classic. New directors should learn to create comedy pictures without any cheap sequence or vulgarity.

The film and the songs stand out as a landmark of Bengali film industry of 1959 and for those reasons should be preserved and restored.

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