Bengali Films and the New Trend of South Remakes; Article by Soumyajit Sarkar


Once upon a time, Bengal was at the behest of contents which magnified the Indian film industry on a large scale. The influx of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha collaborated together to bring about a new daybreak in Indian cinema. The over exemplified “Pather Panchali” of Satyajit Roy, ”Interview” of Mrinal Sen, ”Ek doctor ki maut” by Tapan Sinha fortified the new generation which was going through a non-amicable political scenario. The arrival of Uttam Kumar in the industry soon made even his relatives forget the name “Arun Chatterjee”. The bitter rival of the “Mahanayak” soon appeared in “Teen bhuboner pare”, “Jhinder bondi” and the very own detective character “feluda”. But every daybreak has its sunset. At that point of time on one hand people were adoring the canopy of commercial films like “Mouchak”, “Dhonni meye” while on the other the so called parallel films by Ray-ghatak-sen whetted the audience to even watch not so lucrative Bengali films.

But the levitation of the industry soon suffered a scorching heat in the mid eighties when films slowly drenched the rapture which was bringing about a downfall. The din and bustle around Bappi Lahiri music in Bollywood enthralled the youth who were slowly flipping their choice. For the next 2 decades Bengali films remained obscured and the entire Tollygunge industry was in a trance.

South Indian Movies have long been known for buoyant dancing and beguiling action. Rajni flicks and silk Smitha have been the poster people which crossed the Vindhyas and flowed to various parts of the country. Tollywood was not independent of that. Bengali cinema at that point of time was only “Parivar Panoramas” which was not able to derive the action agony of the south. Scenario changed. And the rise of Shree Venkatesh films as the Yash Raj Films of Bengali films was just the cream awaiting to be laid on the cake. The rise of Jeet Ganguly after separating from Pritam Chakraborty brought a torrent of catchy music which produced heavy dividends. As his songs created history on radio stations and music websites. We must remember the fact that he was giving music to films which were heavily remade from South India. The transformation of actor Jeet from a chocolate boy to an action hero accelerated the process of building up a new Tollywood which was till now a burden only on the shoulders of Mr. Prosenjit Chatterjee aka our own Bumba da.

But endurance always brings about good result. Dev, whose real name is Deepak Adhikary was a surprise package for everybody. Neither did he have the color, nor the looks- what he had was some baisc acting skills and a a great physique. But Venkatesh took the risk and launched him in a film opposite Payel Sarkar. The film “I love u” was a big box office success and the journey of the megastar started.

You don’t need to understand complex economics to understand this simple arithmetic. The grooves of Baba Yadav have added a new dimension to choreography. But too much biriyani can be detrimental, but when public is slipping into this junk food, there is presence of hajmolas like Srijit Mukherji and Kaushik Ganguly to see to the fact that there is no indigestion. “poran jaye joliya re” a film which was a blind copy of “Namaste London” went to the gallows after running for a month. But today one cannot deny the good effects of such remakes. Today satellite rights are being bought which was never the case in Bengali cinema. We as the audience can only hope that despite the remakes the real essence of Bengali cinema never perishes.



Somyajit Sarkar is a student of class 11 in South Point High School, Kolkata and nurtures keen interest in current affairs. Somyajit aspires to become a journalist and thus has developed an investigative intellect in terms of current affairs and Political happenings at the national level and also at the International level.  His passion for music also has a great appeal among his friends. Somyajit takes keen interest in Economy of the film industry and constantly engages himself in doing substantial research works related to this avenue. This 17 year old journo writes about various proceedings concerning Bengali cinema



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