National award-winning filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta dies at 77

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By PTI

KOLKATA: Eminent film director Buddhadeb Dasgupta, who had been battling kidney ailments for quite some time, died at his residence here early on Thursday following a cardiac arrest, family members said.

He was 77. The national award-winning director is survived by his wife, and two daughters from a previous marriage.

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Extending her condolences to the ace director’s friends and family, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Saddened at the passing away of eminent filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Through his works, he infused lyricism into the language of cinema. His death comes as a great loss for the film fraternity.”

Dasgupta was found motionless by his wife, Sohini, at his residence in Kalikapur area of the city at 6 am, according to the family members.

He suffered cardiac arrest in his sleep, they added.

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Mourning his demise, filmmaker Goutam Ghosh said, “Buddha da continued to make films, write articles and stay active, despite his failing health. He had directed ‘Tope’ and ‘Urojahaz’ even when he was unwell. It is a great loss for all of us.”

Actor-director Aparna Sen said Dasgupta’s films were “soaked in surrealism”.

“I am sad that I won’t be able to bid a final farewell to Buddhadeb da at the crematorium, like I did in the case of Mrinal da. It is upsetting that we cannot give due recognition to a director of his calibre, due to this COVID pandemic and the lockdown,” Sen said.

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Actor and theatre personality Kaushik Sen said Dasgupta was in the league of filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, “who took Bengali cinema to global platforms”.

“He had often been accused of making cinema in a style that was not easily understood by the masses. But he stuck to that style, never deviated from what he believed in,” Sen said.

Born in 1944 in Purulia, Dasgupta began his career as a lecturer in a college before taking a plunge into filmmaking in the 70s, after having enrolled his name as a member of Calcutta Film Society.

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He made his first feature film ‘Dooratwa’ in 1978, leaving his mark as a poet-lyricist-director.

Prior to that, he had made a short ‘Samayer Kache’.

Some of the notable films he has helmed include ‘Neem Annapurna’, ‘Grihajuddha’, ‘Bagh Bahadur’, ‘Tahader Katha’, ‘Charachar’, ‘Lal Darja’, ‘Uttara’, ‘Swapner Din’, ‘Kaalpurush’, ‘Janala’.

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He had also directed Hindi films — ‘Andhi Gali’ and ‘Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa’.

Dasgupta — who bagged 12 national awards in his lifetime — was liberal in his views, having criticized arrests of several political activities in the recent times.

He stood by younger filmmaker Anik Dutta, when anti-establishment ‘Bhobisyoter Bhoot’ was withdrawn from theatres in the city one week after release.

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A recipient of Venice film festival silver lion, Locarno critics’ award for Uttara, Locarno Special Jury award, the auteur, after one of his ventures did not get a commercial release a few years ago, had told PTI, “It hurts me when my film gets recognized internationally but doesn’t hit the theatres in Kolkata and the rest of Bengal. But there is a strong distribution lobby at work.”

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