Bimal Roy is one of the greatest masters of Indian cinema, even after 48 years of his death. He is the one who ushered in neo-realism in films and is noted for his socialistic films. His Do Bigha Zameen’s influence is far reaching both in Indian and world cinema.
Bimal Roy’s son, Joy Bimal Roy, has made Remembering Bimal Roy — a documentary — on his father, and the film was screened at the ongoing sixth edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (6BIFFes). Besides that, five of Bimal Roy’s films — Do Bigha Zameen, Bandini, Madhumathi, Naukri and Sujatha — are being screened in the Retrospective section of the festival. Mr. Joy interviewed many film personalities with whom his father worked, including Tapan Sinha, noted film-maker, for the film. A film-maker in his own right Mr. Joy has made several documentaries. He spoke about his documentary film and his father elaborately.
How do you see your illustrious father?
My father died, when I was 10 years old. He was married to celluloid and a workaholic. But, he kept his children away from cinema. He was generous with his colleagues and as they say he was unshakable. I become more and more proud, when his hidden qualities were revealed to me during making of the documentary.
What motivated you to do the film?
I once appealed Nasreen Munni Kabir, an acclaimed documentary film-maker to do a documentary on my father. She suggested that I should take up the job. She cautioned that delay would cost heavily, as Bimal Roy’s colleagues are ageing by the day. When Nabendu Ghosh, acclaimed writer and screenwriter, said that he was leaving for Kolkota, I got alerted and asked whether I could interview him for my film, he instantly agreed. That’s how things started falling in place. When I spoke to Tapan Sinha, after sixty years of meeting my father, he spoke as though he had met him yesterday. Things got crystallised after interviewing four personalities.
Can you detail you experience during the shoot of Remembering Bimal Roy?
I really owe every thing to him. I get to know my father through this film. It was my personal journey. I learnt about my father while speaking to his colleagues. It was a revelation for me. I knew him through his films and it provided me a personal perspective and it is the biggest discovery.”
Are you objective while dealing with the subject?
I am not in the film. It is only my mother and my sister. Yes. It was a difficult path to be objective, as there are chances of getting subjective. I tried my best not to become sentimental, as my father was much against that. But the film is not clinical.
What is your take on his films?
I have studied all his films. He had innate respect for women and could handle highly emotional issues. He was a perfectionist. He consumed 10,000 ft of film for a 10 second shot of leaf falling in Sujatha. His determination to make a film was unquestionable. Though the producer asked him to shoot his debut film Udayer Pathey with the left out raw stock (film) of a can, he took that as a challenge and the film emerged as a defining moment in Indian film history and dealt with issues which still linger.