Daughter to keep Bimal Roy's legacy alive

Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:14pm IST

Rinki Bhattacharya stands beside a framed portrait of her father, filmmaker Bimal Roy, at her Mumbai residence February 7, 2008. Four decades after his death, Roy’s stature as one of India’s foremost filmmakers is on the decline, thanks to a new generation of cinema goers who have never watched his films. REUTERS/Prithwish Ganguly

Rinki Bhattacharya stands beside a framed portrait of her father, filmmaker Bimal Roy, at her Mumbai residence February 7, 2008. Four decades after his death, Roy’s stature as one of India’s foremost filmmakers is on the decline, thanks to a new generation of cinema goers who have never watched his films.

Credit: Reuters/Prithwish Ganguly

  MUMBAI (Reuters) - Four decades after his death, Bimal Roy’s stature as one of India’s foremost filmmakers is on the decline, thanks to a new generation of cinema goers who have never watched his films.

Most of Roy’s classics were made in the 1950s and 60s, the golden era of Bollywood, but their screenings are now limited to retrospectives at film festivals.

Taking up cudgels on the director’s behalf is daughter Rinki Bhattacharya who hopes to keep alive the legacy of Roy and his contemporaries.

"We have to make the young audience know about the classics that exist," Bhattacharya told Reuters in an interview.

"The films of my father or the films of anyone from that era stand out even today."

Bhattacharya is the founder of the Bimal Roy Memorial - an organisation with around 150 members that felicitates artistes at annual concerts.

A cultural centre where students can analyse the works of Roy and other filmmakers is in the pipeline, along with a place to showcase memorabilia - posters, photos and negatives - of the period.

Roy made his mark with his poetic screenplays and use of emotions in films like "Parineeta", "Devdas", "Do Bigha Zameen" and "Bandini", at a time when creative brilliance resonated in virtually every aspect of filmmaking.

By 1966, the year of his death, he had directed more than 20 films, most of which got widespread acclaim.

Bollywood, which thrives heavily on rip-offs and remakes of popular films, also looked to Roy for inspiration.

"Devdas", an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's classic novella about unrequited love, and "Parineeta" - also based on a novel by Chatterjee - were successfully remade by Bollywood.

Bhattacharya is not pleased that modern filmmakers are remaking her father's films.

"I feel if any film is a classic, it is best to leave it untouched. Nobody can remake someone's work of art," she said.

"What my father thought about a scene, what effects to use in them can only be in his mind. It is impossible to replicate those shots that capture so much detail."

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