Sharmila Tagore recalls experiences working with Tapan Sinha

tapan sinha

Tapan Sinha is considered to be an underrated and often-neglected auteur, but His films not only received both critical and popular acclaim, they did well financially and went on to inspire other filmmakers. While celebrating his birth centenary a wonderful evening was organized in the capital.

Legendary actor Sharmila Tagore recalled her experiences of working with master filmmaker Tapan Sinha, whom she fondly addressed as ‘Tapan Kaku’. She also remembered her costars of Bengali cinema, at a discussion with author and Silhouette editor Amitava Nag and noted editor Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri today at an evening dedicated to celebrating the cinema of Tapan Sinha and the golden era of Bengali cinema.

The event was organised jointly by Om Books International, Kunzum Books, Blue Pencil and New Delhi Film Foundation at Kunzum, GK-2, New Delhi. A commemorative poster on Tapan Sinha was released on the occasion and Nirjan Saikate, the Tapan Sinha’s masterpiece starring Sharmila Tagore was also screened.

Sharmila Tagore

Tapan Sinha was a very learned person, recalled Sharmila Tagore, “very soft spoken, you had to strain your ears to hear him.” Elaborating that Sinha was highly respected for his work across the film industry, Sharmila Tagore mentioned it is not easy to convince someone like Dilip Kumar to go and work in a Bengali-Hindi bilingual film (Sagina Mahato).

Talking about her experiences of working with Tapan Sinha, Sharmila Tagore described him as a director with unique vision and talent and said that he had deep knowledge and understanding of grassroots issues as well as the artistic skill to transform them into a classical cinema. At the end of the discussion, she also interacted with the audience and answered such interesting questions from the audience as whether your favorite is Amar Prem or Kashmir Ki Kali….

Sharmila Tagore spoke at length on her experiences in Bengali films while talking on Tapan Cinema. The discussion was moderated by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, the Editor in Chief of Om Books International and joined by writer-critic Amitav Nag, the editor of the prestigious film magazine ‘Silhouette’ and author of the book ‘The Cinema of Tapan Sinha, An Introduction’; who came from Kolkata to join this event. Shantanu and Amitav shed light on cinema of Tapan Sinha as well as the social commitment in Bengali cinema of the seventies through the cinema of Tapan Sinha.

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This event was organized at Kunzum Book Café located in Greater Kailash Part II of the capital, where a complimentary coffee is served on the purchase of every book. Apart from this, it is an interesting place from the point of view of cultural events. Many important people from the cultural and academic world including cinema lovers, book lovers participated in this event. Cine scholar, writer and editor Antara Nanda Mandal was also present in the event on behalf of Blue Pencil. Subir Dey also participated on behalf of Kunzum Books.


tapan sinha

To commemorate the birth centenary of Tapan Sinha, New Delhi Film Foundation also released a poster, which was unveiled by Sharmila Tagore. Ashish K Singh, founder of New Delhi Film Foundation, said that Tapan Sinha’s films not only received critical and popular praise, but also performed well on box office and inspired other filmmakers.

tapan sinha poster

Tapan Sinha made films in Bengali as well as Hindi like Sagina (1974), Safed Haathi (1977), Aadmi Aur Aurat (1982) and Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1991), which were acclaimed and widely appreciated. His Bengali film ‘Apna Jan’ made in 1968 reflected a political consciousness, which was alsomade in Hindi by noted filmmaker & poet Gulzar as his debut film with the name Mere Apne. Gulzar also adapted Sinha’s 1960 film ‘Khudhit Pashan’ based on Tagore’s story and made a film named ‘Lekin’ in 1990. His film ‘Galpo Holeo Satyi’ made in 1968 was remade in Hindi by Hrishikesh Mukherjee as ‘Bawarchi’ (1972).

tapan sinha

Ashish K Singh on behalf of New Delhi Film Foundation told that ‘Cinema of India’ is a campaign to watch, understand and appreciate the cinema of great Indian filmmakers as well as to showcase the work of the new generation filmmakers to support them and take their work forward. Organizing an event on Tapan Sinha’s cinema is a part of this. New Delhi Film Foundation is going to organize many more meaningful programs this year to promote good cinema under the ‘Cinema of India’ campaign.


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