Bengalis and Bollywood

It seems Bengalis have finally arrived in Bollywood. Really? I was under the impression we kind of made a tour of Bollywood sometime back. What about the oldies like Bimal Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asit Sen et al?


10 thoughts on “Bengalis and Bollywood

  1. It seems that Raima Sen and the author of the article have not only not heard of the Titans mentioned by you, but are also unaware that Jaya Bhaduri and Sharmila Tagore were Bongs 🙂
    But the greatest wonder for many remains the strange case of the succesful Bong hero in Bollywood (there aren’t any)!

  2. Indian mainstream Hindustani commercial cinema owes a lot to the Bong brigade. Even before Bombay became Bollywood Bongs ruled. During the early days of Indian cinema it was Calcutta which the cinematic hub, it was only later that the focus shifted westward.

    As far as my knowing goes, RD is an honourary Bong. SD hailed from Tripura, they hail from the royal family there.

  3. Obi Wan: Ahhhh! The successful Bengali hero in Bollywood would probably be Kishore Kumar. I admit, his singing talents do eclipse his acting skills. Many people (Biswajit) have tried but failed. We do have new blood like Shayan Munshi. Let’s see where they go!

    Rita: They will have pride of place re in any Bongs in Bollywood list!

    Rohit: 🙂

    Soumyadip: That was useful information! Thanks!

  4. Just stumbled upon your wonderful blog by chance.. would like to make a few comments here-

    1) Well there have indeed been highly successful bengali heroes in bollywood…Infact the first bollywood superstar was a bong, the great Dadamoni ‘Ashok Kumar’. His 1943 Kismet ran for a record 3 years, a record which was later broken by Sholay in 1975, after 32 years!!
    Kishore Kumar too was a big star with hits like New Delhi (1956), Asha (1957), Dilli Ka Thug (1958), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Jhumroo (1961), Half Ticket (1962), Door Gagan ki Chaon Mein (1964), Padosan (1968) etc.. But even bigger stars were Pradeep Kumar ( Blockbusters like Anarkali,Nagin,Tajmahal, Aarti etc), Joy Mukherjee ( Blockbusters like Shagird, Love In Tokyo, Ziddi, Phir wohi Dil Laya Hun etc) and Biswajeet ( Blockbusters like Bees Saal Baad, Do Kaliyan,Mere Sanam, April Fool etc). These 3 may not have been very good actors but no can deny the fact that they were big stars of their time.
    Another Bong who became a big bollywood star is Mithun Chakraborty. Indeed he was the 2nd biggest bollywood star in the 80’s after Big B! Both Ashok Kumar & Mithunda rank among the best ‘actor-star’ heroes of all time in Indian cinema..
    Interestingly, our very own Mahanayak Uttam Kumar too had two bollywood hits in the form of Amanush & Anand Ashram. And then there is the great actor Pahadi Sanyal, who not many people know was a big Hindi cinema star with mega-hits in the form of Dhoop Chaon, Vidyapati etc,back in 1930’s.

    2) That Rediff article with Raima Sen was just s***. In reality, the list of illustrious bongs in bollywood is so long that if i start mentioning even half of them, this comment of mine would never end!! The bongs actually used to dominate bollyland in good old times before they suddenly hit a rock bottom in the 90’s and the early 2000’s.. but hey, the bong brigade is now back in full force with the likes of Shreya Ghoshal, Pritam, Anurag Basu, Sujoy Ghosh,Arijit Singh,Ayan Mukerji,Shoojit Sircar,Amitabh Bhattacharya,Jeet Ganguli, Shantanu Moitra etc making the community feel proud again..

    3) R.D.Burman and S.D.Burman were not honorary but true bongs. It’s just that they were bongs from Tripura unlike say Salilda & Hemant Kumar,who were bongs from Bengal or Kishoreda, who was a bong from Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh!! Sachinda hailed from Comilla, East Bengal and was a scion of the bengali speaking Tripura royal family.. I, myself hail from Tripura and distantly related to the Burmans!!

    Sorry for the long comment.

    1. Hello raunakjoy, thanks for the compliment! Long comments are a rarity and, therefore, welcome.

      Well, I don’t think I was clear enough. Or at least my tone wasn’t. I was and am saying the same thing that you are. Bengalis have been in the Hindi film industry since the beginning so when rediff made it seem as if Bengalis were new to Bollywood, it rankled me no end. Hence, the short and ironic post. Don’t worry, irony sometimes doesn’t get through a chat window or a blog post (in my case). 🙂

      1. I know Moushumidi that you were saying the same thing that later i elaborated upon…I just wanted to make few points to make it clear that the rediff article was nothing but bulls***. Anyways i am still grateful to that rubbish rediff piece, because if it weren’t for that article, i would not have chanced upon your superb blog.

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