Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar: Bengali Cinema's first couple
The Bengali film industry has been the leading light of Indian film industry since the beginning. As the golden age of stars Promothesh Barua and Kanan Devi was drawing to a close, Bengali cinema found its most glamorous duo in Suchitra Sen and Uttam Kumar. Sen was born in 1931 and her first film was titled “Shesh kothay”. However, this was never released and her first release was “Saat number kayedi”. She acted with several actors, but it was her pairing with the rising star Uttam Kumar with his charming boy next door smile that has made her immortal in the heart of generations of Bengalis.
The films of Uttam Suchitra: the early years.
The couple first came together in the evergreen comedy “Saare chuattor”. They were not the lead roles and in fact were sharing screen space with such commanding performers as Molina and Tulsi Chakroborty. However, the good looks and chemistry of the couple caught the eye of the audience. The Bengali film industry was looking for a glamorous couple in the 1950s. with “Sagarika” and the forever memorable “Harano Sur”, the pairing of Uttam Suchitra made a permanent place in the heart of the Bengali audience. The superlative music, the obvious talent of the actors and the heart wrenching good looks definitely contributed to this popularity which remains unmatched to this day.
During 1950s and 60s, the popularity of Uttam Suchitra couple knew no bounds and easily surpassed that of any other artist in the Bengali film industry. The couple acted in more than 20 films during this time. These included such evergreen hits as “Sapmochan”, “Sabar Uporey”, “Shilpi”, “Harano Sur”, “Pathe Holo Deri”, “Jiban Trishna”, “Indrani”, “Chawa Pawa” etc. The soulful music by Hemanta Mukherjee added an extra dimension to these films.
However, the pair appeared in much fewer films together in the 1960s. still, “Saptapadi” released in 1961 remains one of the most romantic Bengali film ever produced and its song can still be heard. “Grihadaha” released in 1967 remains another classic work of the couple. However, both seemed determined to prove their mettle separate from each other. As Suchitra ventured to Hindi films, Uttam Kumar turned to more experimental roles against other actresses.
The evergreen coupleBoth the actors remained mysteriously quiet about their personal relationship. While Suchitra Sen said they were “just friends”, Uttam Kumar said, 'Yes I loved her, but this love is of a different kind and genre'." The couple will live forever in the heart of their Bengali audience.