How has Bengali cinema evolved over the years?

The eternal actor of Bengali cinema who still tugs at our heartstrings and the one who masters portrayals of the thinking man’s favourite characters with a strong emotional connect even today have had a long journey in Bengali cinema. So, we asked Soumitra Chatterjee what are the changes he has seen in Bengali cinema over the years.

“It takes a decade or so for a change to be noticed. Honestly, even I can’t fathom how things actually changed. Contemporary subjects have started springing up in our films. Angshumaner Chhobi had a male prostitute as its central character. Such subjects were not touched before because the audience could not have accepted it. So, there are some such external changes in the content. However, I don’t think there is any change in the form. Satyajit, Ritwik (Ghatak), Mrinal (Sen), Tapan Sinha, Ajoy Kar and others took the form of Bengali cinema to a height that is not easy to achieve. It was like a movement. Can any film of recent times reach that height? No, it can’t,” explains the veteran actor in an exclusive chat with Etimes as he goes down the memory lane.

We further asked him today, while choosing a film, what excites him the most. Soumitra tells us it’s the same things that used to excite him earlier. “It has never changed. A well-written story, taut script, realistic approach, life-like characters that owould force me to think and work hard; these are what entice me always. However, earlier, it used to be easier to get such roles. Now, at this age, I only get a handful of such characters to portray,” adds the legendary actor.