The timeless comedy ‘Padosan’ started its journey as a brief story which was tailored first in Bengali after which in Telugu, each by Calcutta-based manufacturing homes. It was a rage in three languages earlier than Bollywood even knew that it existed.
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Had Bhanu Bannerjee been alive and labored as a comic at the moment, he would have been in serious trouble. One of many issues he was recognized for was the scathing social satire in his audio performs, a few of which concerned poking enjoyable at politics and…faith. His skit Naba Ramayan would ship ripples throughout the institution. However, Bhanu was extra well-known as a comic in mainstream Bengali movies, and he was lively at a time when comedians have been accorded the identical respect given to the main heroes and heroines of the time. Typically much more. Of their prime, comedian actors like Tulshi Chakraborty and Jahar Roy have been honored names within the trade. It was not unusual to have a comic as a pivotal character, the prime mover in lots of common movies.
Bhanu Bannerjee began his profession with a movie referred to as Abhijog (1947) and went on to look in lots of profitable movies throughout the three a long time that adopted. He finally fashioned a profitable on-screen partnership with Jahar Roy and even briefly featured in a number of Hindi movies like Dulal Guha’s Ek Gaon Ki Kahani (1957) and Satyan Bose’s Bandish (1955) by which he tries to woo Meena Kumari, with hysterical outcomes.
However the one movie that introduced him on the map was Pasher Bari (1952), a situational comedy based mostly on a narrative by Arun Chowdhury, who additionally wrote the dialogue of the movie and acted in it. The movie introduced Bhanu as Shyam Sundar, the music instructor of a fairly younger factor named Lili (Sabitri Chatterjee). Whereas on a prepare, Lili runs into the blundering simpleton Kyabla (Satya Bannerjee) who promptly falls in love together with her. Realising that the music instructor is a rival for her affections, Kyabla recruits Bhombol Da (Arun Chowdhury) to assist him win her over. Bhombol realises Kyabla is simply too far gone in his love for Lili, and decides that every one’s honest in love and…you recognize.
Pasher Bari proved a turning level for quite a lot of folks related to it. Bhanu turned a family identify, and Sharey Chuattor which launched the next 12 months, solely consolidated his place as an essential comedian actor in Bengali movie trade. Each heroine Sabitri Chatterjee and director Sudhir Mukherjee had debuted with Pasher Bari. Although she had earlier been a part of a movie, this was her first main position. Sabitri had solely not too long ago migrated from what was then often called East Pakistan. She was a distant relation of Bhanu Bannerjee, who had employed her for his drama troupe.
Sabitri used to talk with an accent, due to which she was initially rejected for the position of Lili. However she got here with stable credentials. Her efficiency on the stage made Shishir Bhaduri, the doyen of Bengali theatre gush about how she had upstaged all of the veterans. Lastly, she was solid because the heroine of the movie, and Bhanu as one in all her suitors. For director Sudhir Mukherjee, Pasher Bari was an essential milestone because it was his directorial debut. He went on to make quite a lot of very profitable movies, a few of them with matinee idol Uttam Kumar. The hero of the movie was Satya Bannerjee, who had additionally been solid as a hero for the primary time. He would go on to play robust supporting roles in mainstream Bengali movies for the nest 4 a long time.
Pasher Bari turned a runaway hit. Now, this was an attention-grabbing interval within the historical past of Indian cinema, the place Tamil and Telugu movie industries had robust ties with Calcutta and Bengali filmmakers. Legendary Tamil poet & lyricist Kannadasan was coaching to be a director below Debaki Bose, and later produced a Tamil movie referred to as Ratna Deepam (1953) which Bose directed. Ratna Deepam had a predominantly Bengali solid, together with Abhi Bhattacharya and Pahari Sanyal. This sort of cultural alternate between Bengal and south cinema was fairly frequent within the 30s to the early 50s. East India Movie Firm, arrange in Calcutta by R.L. Khemka, was on the forefront of many of those initiatives. Thus, a Calcutta studio arrange by a Marwari enterprise was making movies in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Impressed by the success of Pasher Bari, East India Movie Firm produced a Telugu movie referred to as Pakkinti Ammayi, which got here out in the identical 12 months (1953). It was directed by Chittajallu Pullaiyah. Kyabla turned Subbarayudu, performed by eminent Telugu comic Relangi, whereas Leela – Lili within the unique – was portrayed by celebrity Anjali Devi, who was a giant identify each in Telugu and Tamil cinema. Bhombol Da’s position was reworked into Raja, who was additionally a singer, performed by singer and music director A.M. Rajah. Pakkinti Ammayi was an enormous success, prompting the heroine Anjali Devi to co-produce a Tamil model together with her husband, music director Adhinarayana Rao. Adutha Veettu Penn (1960) was directed by Vedantam Raghavaiah, and starred Anjali Devi because the heroine as soon as once more, with the bumbling hero Mannaru being performed by T.R. Ramachandran. Veteran Tamil comic Ok.A. Thangavelu turned the singer buddy. And identical to clockwork, Aduthe Veettu Penn additionally set the field workplace on hearth.
Identical to Bhanu Bannerjee in Bengal, Mehmood too was consolidating his place as a comic in Bollywood. His early roles hardly drew any laughs. As a result of they have been unfavorable components. He begun with the blockbuster Kismet (1943) as Ashok Kumar’s youthful self. A number of the most landmark movies of the 50s featured him in minor roles, like Do Beegha Zameen, Pyaasa, CID. Lastly, it was Parvarish (1958) the place he was observed. He performed Raj Kapoor’s brother. After Parvarish, Mehmood saved getting meatier roles, however largely as humorous males. By the mid-60s, he was a bankable star and infrequently commanded charges which have been larger than what among the heroes used to earn these days. He was so staggeringly profitable that scripts have been being written with him in thoughts. It was time to enterprise into filmmaking. The primary movie he directed was Bhoot Bungla (1965), with Tanuja within the lead reverse him. He even bulldozed his buddy R.D. Burman to play a job within the movie. R.D. additionally composed the music. Mehmood and R.D. Burman aka Pancham had rip-roaring chemistry on-screen, which made him resolve to solid Pancham once more.
When Mehmood determined to launch his manufacturing home, the primary undertaking needed to be particular. The story Pasher Bari, which had already spawned three very profitable movies in three languages, gave the impression to be as credible an thought as any. When Padosan was first conceived, the leads have been to be performed by Pancham and Shikha Biswas – the daughter of music director Anil Biswas – say Aniruddha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal of their e-book on R.D. Burman. Only a few folks might make Mehmood snort uncontrollably, and Pancham was one in all them. But, he was extra insistent on sticking to his position as a composer, and performing didn’t appear thrilling sufficient.
By this time, Sunil Dutt had constructed a formidable physique of labor, and was hungry for experimentation. He had simply made India’s first movie starring just one actor, Yaadein (1964). In the identical vein, he accepted the position of Bhola since he hadn’t achieved comedy earlier than and it introduced a problem. Saira Banu, whose comedian timing was obvious in Junglee, was solid within the lead heroine’s position. Kishore Kumar had stopped performing to give attention to his singing profession. However when the position of the hero’s buddy Vidyapati was defined to him, he exclaimed that it reminded him of his uncle Dhananjay Bannerjee. Forged as Vidyapati, Kishore modeled the position after the pan-chewing, dhoti-clad Dhananjay Mama. Mehmood himself donned the position of the music instructor.
Padosan created historical past with its phenomenal music by R.D. Burman and the impeccable comedian efficiency of the principal solid. Over the previous half a century, the appeal of Padosan hasn’t diminished one bit. But it surely’s straightforward to overlook that the three “regional” movies which got here earlier than it have been landmark movies too, paving the best way for his or her Bollywood counterpart to exist and create magic.
Amborish is a Nationwide Movie Award successful author, biographer and movie historian.
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