Bimal Roy – Tribute To A Champion Of Social Issues

Bimal Roy Movies

One of the pioneer of India’s much appreciated Parallel Cinema, Bimal Roy’s contribution to the industry has been recognised both in India and abroad.

With the Kolkata film industry declining in post-war India, Roy changed base to Mumbai and thrived. His simplistic tales, pictured with stark reality, found an audience at all times.

He combined Parallel Cinema with the commercial variety very effectively.His films were complemented by some of the best actors of the time and embellished with great music and songs which have remained immortal.

We look back on some of Roy’s finest works on his 52nd death anniversary which falls on Monday (January 8).

Do Bigha Zameen (1953)

Do Bigha Zameen (1953)Cast: Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Nazir Hussain, Nana Palsikar, Jagdeep, Meena Kumari
Director: Bimal Roy

A poor farmer Shambu (Sahni), his wife Parvati (Nirupa Roy) and son Kanhaiya live in a small village hit by a three-year famine. Then the rain returns and Shambu is hopeful of being prosperous again.

But the nefarious designs of a landowner puts Shambu into trouble. The landowner wants to build a mill and Shambu’s land is needed for the purpose. Shambu is trapped as he has borrowed money from the landowner.

A dejected Shambu leaves for Kolkata to find some work, leaving behind a pregnant Parvati. He struggles for a job and falls into bad times. But will the family survive? This film won an award at Cannes Film Festival.

Devdas (1955)

Devdas (1955)Cast: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Suchitra Sen, Motilal
Director: Bimal Roy

A man from a wealthy Brahmin family, Devdas (Dilip Kumar), returns to his home after studying in Kolkata and finds himself in a midst of a dilemma.

His childhood sweetheart Paro ( Sen) who is from a lower caste, is hoping that Devdas will marry her now that they are adults. But in a fit of cowardice, Devdas refuses to marry her and go against his parents’ wishes of opting a lower caste bride.

He regrets the decision but it is too late. He begins to drink and spend his time with a courtesan Chandramukhi (Vyjayanthimala) who also falls in love with him. Devdas gets very sick and sets out on a final journey to Paro’s house.

Madhumati (1958)

Madhumati (1958)Cast: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Jayant, Pran, Johnny Walker
Director: Bimal Roy

An engineer Devinder (Dilip Kumar), on his way to pick up his wife and child, gets trapped during a landslide and takes refuge in an old mansion. Strange things occur as memories of another life take over.

In his earlier life as Anand, he was in love with a tribal girl Madhumati (Vyjayanthimala) who is murdered by a villainous brute. He then comes across another woman who looks like Madhumati.

They lay a plot to trap the villain. This film set the trend for more reincarnation movies. The fantastic songs and great music by Salil Chaudary made it into a memorable film.

Sujata (1959)

Sujata (1959)Cast: Nutan, Sunil Dutt, Shashikala, Lalita Pawar, Sulochana
Director: Bimal Roy

A Brahmin boy Adheer (Dutt) falls in love with an untouchable girl Sujata, who was adopted by a Brahmin family. The family does not accept her fully and always reminds her where she belongs.

The film is a commentary on the B R Ambedkar’s fight against the caste system and the practice of untouchability.

Sujata faces a lot of hardships before an accident leads to her donating her blood to a family member with a rare group.

Bandini (1963)

Bandini (1963)Cast: Nutan, Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra, Raja Paranjpe
Director: Bimal Roy

A poetry-loving young woman Kalyani (Nutan) is jailed for murder and the reason for it revealed in a conversation with the jailor. Her past reflects the social pressures she faces after her lover, freedom fighter Bikash (Ashok Kumar), promises to return to their village but never does.

She leaves the village for the city after and finds work with a mentally-unstable woman who happens to be Bikash’s wife. In a fit of rage, she kills her. Kalyani is condemned to jail where the prison doctor Devendra (Dharmendra) falls for her but she is not ready for it.

She leaves prison and finds Bikash sitting at a railway station in bad condition. She then has to decide whether she should go back to her lover or for a new life.

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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