Art & Entertainment

Tarun Majumdar Dies At 91: Uncommon Story-Teller Who Depicted The Lives Of Common People On Celluloid

Bengali Filmmaker and Padma Shri awardee Tarun Majumdar passed away in Kolkata on Monday (July 4) at the age of 91.

Tarun Majumdar

Known for his simple, lyrical narrative style of story-telling, Bengali filmmaker Tarun Majumdar loved to focus on ordinary people with extraordinary characteristics  - good and bad. 

Majumdar, a Padma Shri awardee, turned literary classics by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay, Subodh Ghosh, Saradindu Bandyopadhyay and Bimal Kar into popular cinema.

In a career spanning around six decades, he used songs, especially those by Rabindranath Tagore, to highlight the mood of the movie sequences he shot.

The soft-spoken, quintessential Bengali `bhadralok' director debuted with 'Chaowa Paowa' (Desire and Fulfilment) made in 1959 under the 'Yatrik' group formed with two other directors Sachin Mukherjee and Dilip Mukherji. 

He also made 'Kancher Swargo' (Paradise of Glass, 1962) and 'Palatak' (Runaway, 1963) as a member of Yatrik.

'Kancher Swargo' won him his first National award while the second one came with  'Ganadevata' (The People, 1979) based on a story by literateur Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay. 

Majumdar got a total of four National Awards, five Filmfare awards and seven awards from the Bengal Film Journalists Association (BFJA).

He received critical acclaim for films with subtle sensibilities like 'Balika Badhu' (Child Bride, 1967. Story by Bimal Kar), 'Kuheli' (Mist, 1971), 'Sriman Prithviraj' (Little Prithviraj, 1973), Dadar Kirti (Deeds of Elder Brother, 1980), 'Thagini' (Cheat, 1974) and 'Bhalobasa Bhalobasa' (Love Love, 1985).

"I am a strong believer in retaining human values. These are things which won't change. All my films celebrate these values and the joint family system. I will always use Rabindra Sangeet in my films," Majumdar had said in 2018 after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from BFJA.

His characters represent extraordinary qualities. The doctor in 'Kancher Swargo' had to quit studies because of difficulties but he returns to save a patient by performing a complex surgery. 'Thagini' tells the story of a woman who marries wealthy men only to flee after stealing the wedding ornaments. In 'Bhalobasa Bhalobasa', a small-time businessman hides his brutal past by putting up a cheerful exterior.

Majumdar was instrumental in introducing actors like Tapas Paul and Debashree Roy to the Bengali audience in 1980 and 1971 respectively.

He left behind actor-wife Sandhya Roy who had been the lead actress in 20 of his films. However, they were not living together for around 20 years.

Majumdar was born on January 1, 1931, in the Bogra district of Bengal, now in Bangladesh. Son of a freedom fighter, he had studied at St Paul's Cathedral Mission and Scottish Church College in Kolkata. He was considered a follower of the Leftist ideology.

[With Inputs From PTI]

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