Movies

Basu Chatterjee, torchbearer of Hindi ‘middle-of-the-road’ cinema, passes away

Basu Chatterjee addressing a press conference to announce the winners of the 60th National Film Awards, in New Delhi on March 18, 2013

Basu Chatterjee addressing a press conference to announce the winners of the 60th National Film Awards, in New Delhi on March 18, 2013   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

The filmmaker was at the helm of the light-hearted, middle class, family dramas that emerged as a parallel narrative to the more mainstream ‘Angry Young Man’ movies

Filmmaker-screenwriter Basu Chatterjee, the torch-bearer of the Hindi middle-of-the-road cinema of the 70s and the 80s, passed away in Mumbai on Thursday morning. He was 93 and died due to age related heath complications.

The news of his death was announced by Ashoke Pandit, president of the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA). “He passed away peacefully in his sleep in the morning. He wasn’t keeping well for quite some time due to old age and died at his residence. It’s a great loss to the film industry,” said Mr Pandit.

Mr Chatterjee, along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, was at the helm of the light-hearted, middle class, family dramas that emerged as a parallel narrative to the more mainstream Angry Young Man movies. Some of his popular films like Piya Ka Ghar (1972) and Baton Baton Mein (1979) were all about the skein of relationships within families, seemingly complicated but simple at heart. They often they dealt with intelligent women negotiating personal or relationship conundrums, like in Rajnigandha (1974), Chhoti Si Baat (1975) and Priyatama (1977). He also dealt with issues of social and political relevance in Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986), an Indian adaptation of Sidney Lumet’s Twelve Angry Men and Kamla Ki Maut (1989).

In the heydays of Doordarshan, Mr Chatterjee helmed two superhit TV serials: Byomkesh Bakshi (re-telecast during the lockdown) based on Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s works centred on the iconic detective, and Rajani which made Priya Tendulkar instantly popular as the crusader taking on the inefficient government offices and systems.

Mr Chatterjee’s last rites will be performed today at the Santa Cruz crematorium at 2 pm.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 10:04:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/basu-chatterjee-torchbearer-of-hindi-middle-of-the-road-cinema-passes-away/article31746246.ece

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