Ashok Kumar is one of the four pillars of old Hindi or Hindustani cinema from the mid-1930s to the 1970s. His other three pillars are Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Of the four actors, Ashok Kumar was the eldest in his 1936 production of Bombay Talkies in his Achhut Kannya. It was owned by his lead lady Devika Rani and her husband Himanshu Rai. He trained in filmmaking in Germany shortly before Hitler and the rise of the Nazis. The film, which deals with the scourge of India’s caste system, was directed by Franz Osten, a refugee from Germany and a friend of Himansch Rai. Osten knew little or no Hindi. Achhut Kannya was a big hit with the middle class, who make up the bulk of the paying audience.
From the outset Bombay Talkies had a modern outlook. Its owner was an upper-class Bengali man educated in the West, traveled abroad, and intellectually conscious. As film producers, they understood their duty to make films that highlight the major social causes that have affected their fellow Indians. As if stuck in time and dying social conventions, Bombay Talkies recognized their role as agents of social change. Similar to those produced by New Theaters and Pune’s Pravat Talkie, it was socially recognizable, albeit from a middle-class perspective. From an assistant developing films in a laboratory to leading actor, he grew up among very talented and educated people. The studio’s camera department was headed by the talented Karl-Joseph Wilsing, also a refugee from Germany, and Gan Mukherjee, the director of Kismet, who directed for three years, was there. , screenwriter Saadat Hasan Mant, destined to achieve immortality, was also there. As an Urdu short story writer and many others. Himanshu Rai remained the most powerful influence in Ashok Kumar’s life and helped him grow as an artist.
Ashok Kumar learned all aspects of filmmaking at Bombay Talkies and must have been surprised by his success as an actor. His mentor, Himanshu Rai, first told him that he should try to act and speak naturally in front of the camera. I called. He also practiced finding a balance between spoken words and on-screen gestures in front of a mirror. His diligent study of the acting styles of Hollywood actors such as Ronald Colman, Spencer Tracy and Leslie Howard allowed him to act more believably in Hindi films. Before his emergence, he acted in Hindi, and practically all films produced in Indian were melodramatic. He passed on his secret to Bombay Talkies protégé Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan.
He delivered some of the most convincing performances, playing a well-rounded character. Bimal Roy’s Parinita (1953), based on the Bengali novel by Sarath Chandra Chatterjee, cast him in the role of Shekhar, Lalita’s benefactor, an orphaned young woman played by the stunningly talented 19-year-old Meena Kumari. gave. I really understand. Then again, in Bimal Roy’s Bandini (1963) as Bikash Ghosh, the revolutionary who unwittingly fails Kalyani, the love of his life, brilliantly played by Nutan. He got along well as an actor. He played Nawab Shahabuddin, an aristocrat with a troubled conscience, in B.R. We gave many memorable performances. There are many other performances worth keeping in mind.
Among his many contributions to the art of acting are his performances as the first Indian film anti-hero in Kismet (1943) and later Sangram (1950), both directed by Gyan Mukherjee. . His innate aptitude for comedy is shown in Bandish (1956) with Meena his Kumari and Daisy Irani and Chartika with his brothers Kishore Kumar, Anoop his Kumar and Madhubala his Naam his Gurdi (1958). was seen as an advantage in In Chalti Ka… he confronted her Kishore Kumar at his most antics and shimmering her Madhubala at her most naughty. Later in his career, he took a hilarious turn with Pran in Brij’s Victoria No. 203 (1972) and, lest we forget Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Khubsoorat (1980), Basu Chatterji’s Chhotisi Baat (1975) very It was interesting to
Ashok Kumar’s many talents included a formidable talent for the organization. Devika Rani in Bombay after the death of her Himanshu Rai She left Talkies and married Russian artist Svetoslav Roeric in 1943, after accumulating debts of Rs 2.8 lakh, Ashok Kumar and his colleagues Editor Savak Vacha took over. In the same year Ashok Kumar made a successful film with a low budget enough to pay off the studio and its debtors. Became a partner in a production company called Tan. Firmistan was a resounding success. Sashadhar Mukherjee later founded his Filmalaya, a very successful production company in the late 1950s and into his 60s. Ashok Kumar was also awarded the Padma Shri and the Dada Saheb Phalke awards by the Government of India.
Nabendu Ghosh’s biography of Ashok Kumar, despite its hagiographic tone, is also genuinely informative, perceptive, and endearing. I asked his daughter, his Ratnottama Sengupta, and the publisher, Sleeping Tiger, for a reprint.
Dadamoni: The Life and Times of Ashok Kumar
187 pages, 499 rupees