Remembering Uttam Kumar on his birth anniversary

3rd September 2021 marks the 95th birth anniversary of the famous Tollywood actor Uttam Kumar.

Who is Uttam Kumar?

Uttam Kumar (born Arun Kumar Chatterjee) was born on 3rd September 1926. Entire India popularly knows him as Mahanayak. He was an Indian film actor, singer, director, composer, producer, and also a playback singer who predominantly worked in Indian Cinema. All through his career, he earned critical as well as commercial success. Thus, he remains an Indian cultural icon.

How did Uttam Kumar come into the line of cinema?

Uttam Kumar was originally a clerk in the Calcutta Port Commission. He had a passion for acting. In the early days, his efforts to come on the screen produced such negative results that he thought of packing up and returning to his 9-to-5 routine of being a clerk. However, his brand of charismatic acting brought a gush of fresh air in a world dominated by ‘theatrics’. People appreciated his acting skills in the new cinema-literate generation during the golden era of the 50s, 60s as well as 70s.

How did Uttam Kumar gain stardom?

During that time, Ajoy Kar was an innovative filmmaker of the country. It was acting in his commercial films that made Uttam Kumar famous. He utilized the middle-class image of Uttam Kumar in his film “Griha Prabesh”. In “Shyamali”, he played a sacrificing role in society. This movie was staged in Star Theatre in Kolkata as a play and was superhit thereby running continuously for 4 years. Ajoy Kar’s story-telling and different casting (Kaberi Bose played the role of Shyamali) was successful enough to receive the critic’s acclamation.

How was Uttam Kumar’s career?

This great actor’s career started with the film “Dristidan” in 1948. He appeared in over 200 films in his career. He wanted variety in his life. So, he gave a shot at production, singing, directing, composing music, and screenplay writing. The films that won great acclaim with him being the producer were “Harano Sur”, “Saptapadi”, “Bhrantibilash”, “Jotugriha” and “Grihadah”.

His first Hindi film “Chhoti Si Mulaqat” produced in 1967 was a flop. This disappointed him very much because he used almost all his savings to produce the film. That much money was needed because it was shot in color and at extravagant locations. Later, he directed much-applauded films like “Sudhu Ekti Bochor”, and “Bon Palashir Padaboli”. He also composed music for the film “Kaal Tumi Aleya”.

Chhoti Si Mulakat movie

 As a singer, he recorded songs for the AIR – All India Radio. He also sang Rabindra Sangeet the album of which has been brought out very recently. This famous personality was even approached to recite the Chandi Path on AIR. He tried doing it for one year but gave up at last. From then on till date, we hear Birendra Krishna Bhadra reciting the Chandi Path. His time is considered as the Golden era of Bengali Cinema.

Uttam Kumar’s on-screen chemistry

The on-screen chemistry between Uttam Kumar and actress Suchitra Sen is adored still now. Both of them are an iconic couple of Bengali cinema to date. Some of the cinemas where this romantic duo acted together are “Share Chuattor”, “Agni Pariksha”, “Shilpi”, “Saptapadi”, “Pathe Holo Deri”, “ Harano Sur”, “Chaowa Paowa”, “Jibon Trishna”, and many more.

What about his personal life?

Uttam Kumar married Gauri Chatterjee in 1941. Later he left his home at Girish Mukherjee Road to live with actress Supriya Devi till his death.

How did Uttam Kumar die?

In 1980, this famous actor suffered a stroke while filming “Ogo Bodhu Shundori”. He was immediately admitted to Belle Vue Clinic. The doctors tried their level best for 16 hours but failed. He breathed his last on the night of 24th July 1980 at the age of 53.

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