Remembering Bimal Roy on his 108th birth anniversary.
Bimal Roy (12 July 1909–8 January 1966) was a film director. He is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, making him an important director of Hindi cinema. Inspired by Italian neo-realistic cinema, he made Do Bigha Zameen after watching Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948). His work is particularly known for his mise en scène which he employed to portray realism. He won a number of awards throughout his career, including eleven Filmfare Awards, two National Film Awards, and the International Prize of the Cannes Film Festival. Madhumati won 9 Filmfare Awards in 1958, a record held for 37 years.
Bimal Roy moved to Calcutta and entered the field of cinema as a camera assistant with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd.. During this time, he assisted director P.C. Barua as Publicity Photographer, on the hit 1935 film Devdas, starring K.L. Saigal. In the 1940s and 1950s Roy was part of the parallel cinema movement in post-war India. He made with Anjangarh (1948), one of the last major films of the New Theatres, however Kolkata based film industry was now on the decline, thus Roy shifted base to Bombay (now Mumbai) along with his team in 1950, which included Hrishikesh Mukherjee (editor), Nabendu Ghosh (screenwriter), Asit Sen (assistant director), Kamal Bose (cinematographer) and later Salil Chaudhury (music director), and by 1952 he had restarted the second phase of his career with Maa (1952) for Bombay Talkies. He was famous for his romantic-realist melodramas that took on important social issues while still being entertaining. He was a filmmaker of great and indepth understanding of human strengths and weaknesses. In 1959, he was a member of the jury at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival.
He died of cancer on 8 January 1966 at the age of 56. He was survived by four children, being daughters Rinki Bhattacharya, Yashodhara Roy and Aparajita Sinha, and his only son, Joy Roy. His eldest daughter, Rinki Bhattacharya, married the director Basu Bhattacharya against the wishes of both their families. The marriage collapsed within a few years, but resulted in the birth of a son, the actor and screenplay writer Aditya Bhattacharya. Rinki Bhattacharya now heads the Bimal Roy Memorial Committee.