January 19 marks the birth anniversary of the stalwart of Bengali cinema, Soumitra Chatterjee. He passed away on December 15 last year, leaving behind an exemplary legacy in theatre and films and authored many literary works.
While his cinematic performances earned him fans in India and abroad, the songs featured in his films have also entertained viewers, and often showed a different side to the thespian. As we remember the legend on his special day, here are the five songs from his movies that one should listen to:
Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare
One of the most important films in Satyajit Ray’s oeuvre, Charulata (1964), starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukherjee, featured this Rabindranath Tagore song. Kishore Kumar performed this song which features Amal (Chatterjee) trying to woo Charulata (Mukherjee). The film is based on Tagore’s novella Nashtanirh (The Broken Nest).
Jibone Ki Pabo Na
Another popular film in Chatterjee’s illustrious career was Teen Bhubaner Paare (1969). The energetic track Jibone Ki Pabo Na, with Soumitra doing the twist, struck a chord with the Bengali youth back then. Bengali actors were rarely seen dancing on screen back then. Manna Dey performed the song on Sudhin Dasgupta’s lyrics. The song was picturised on Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Chinmoy Roy and Tanuja.
Hoyto Tomari Janya
Another timeless song from Teen Bhubaner Paare, Hoyto Tomari Janya is also performed by Dey. The romantic composition is picturised on Chatterjee and Tanuja. The swoon-worthy lines are complemented by images of a tranquil shore and a sunset, as seen from a dock.
Khidki Theke Singhaduar
In this song from the 1972 film Stree, Chatterjee’s character Sitapati softly critiques the orthodox and limiting worldview of Madhav (Uttam Kumar) and his family. The camera symbolically captures the landlord and his wife Mrinmoyee (Arati Bhattacharya) behind window bars, looking at Sitapati, seen under the open sky. Hemanta Mukhopadhyay performed the song written by Gauriprasanna Majumder.
Agun Legeche Legeche
One of Soumitra Chatterjee’s highly successful romantic comedies, Basanta Bilap (1973) features Bengali cinema heavyweights like Aparna Sen, Rabi Ghosh, Sumitra Mukherjee, Tarun Kumar and Chinmoy Roy, among others. The song dramatizes the film’s story of a rivalry between four boys and four girls of a hostel. Dey, Ghosh and Roy performed the song written by Pulak Bandyopadhyay.
There's nothing like remembering the screen legend through these melodies on his birth anniversary.