Basu Chatterjee, 90, the torch-bearer of middle-class family drama films passes away
Filmmaker, screen writer Basu Chatterjee, who can well be called “torch bearer” of middle class family drama in the 1970s passed away in Mumbai on Thursday.
The Ajmer born filmmaker was the master of middle class family minutiae who made the light hearted, “close to reality” movies, to be enjoyed with family. Ashoke Pandit, President of Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association said, “He hadn’t been keeping well for quite a while due to old age problems and died at his residence.”
He was the personified exemplary modern middle class family man of Hindi cinema. His debut film in 1969 ‘Sara Akash’, set in backdrop of Agra was about a young but incompatible couple, who were into arranged marriage and trying to discover one another. The same year his movies with Mrinal Sen ‘Bhuvan Shome’ and with Mani Kaul ‘Uski Roti’ are believed to have started a new wave in Indian cinema with a completely unexplored genre of screenwriting and movie making.
Along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee became the torchbearer of entertaining, light hearted, close to reality dramas revolving around middle class family life. This was a fresh change from the populous action packed movies with “angry young man” portrayal and bandits and drug lords. The narrative Basu da provided was artistic, breathtaking, artistic, and most essential “feel good” solution of the new wave movie era.
The story telling style of Basu Chatterjee, much like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, was straightforward and uncomplicated. But the emotions were raw and real. Actor director M.K. Raina, who worked with Basu in 1986 movie ‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla’ says, “His content was like a fresh breeze even though his cinematic grammar remained simple and basic.”
A highlight of Basu da’s style of filmmaking was his women-oriented cinema. Women were the main pivot of his cinema – in a strong role – educated, modern, independent and intelligent, easily intertwining between relationships and family, balancing the life. Major hits in this aspect were ‘Rajnigandha’ (1974), ‘Chotti si Baat’ (1976) and ‘Chitchor’ (1976).
Basu Chatterjee’s movies will live among us for generations to come, personifying the true essence of Hindi cinema in its purest form.