Bimal Roy’s influence was far-reaching, both in Indian cinema and world cinema.

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Bimal Roy’s influence was far-reaching, both in Indian cinema and world cinema. In Indian cinema, his influence extended to both mainstream commercial Hindi cinema and the emerging Parallel Cinema. His film Two Acres of Land (1953) was the first film to successfully stradle art and commercial cinema. It was a commercial and critical success, winning the International Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. The film’s success paved the way for the Indian New Wave as a result.

In commercial cinema, the most influential film he directed was perhaps Madhumati (1958), his first and only collaboration with Ritwik Ghatak (who wrote the screenplay) and one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation. It is believed to have been the source of inspiration for many later works dealing with the theme of reincarnation in Indian cinema, Indian television, and perhaps world cinema. It may have been the source of inspiration for the American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) and the Hindi film Karz (1980), both of which dealt with reincarnation and have been influential in their respective cultures. Karz in particular was remade several times: as the Kannada film Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film Enakkul Oruvan (1984), and more recently the Bollywood film Karzzzz (2008). Karz may have also inspired the American film Chances Are (1989). The most recent film to be directly inspired by Madhumati is the hit Bollywood film Om Shanti Om (2007), which led to Roy’s daughter Rinki Bhattacharya accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.

Bimal Roy’s films continue to be screened at major national and international film festivals in India, Europe and North America. His films are being restored and digitised by the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) at Pune. In July 2014, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai hosted an exhibition, Bimal Roy: Life & Times, organised in collaboration with his children. The exhibits included screening of films, Madhumati, Sujata and Bandini, besides film posters, costumes and memorabilia, including an Arriflex camera used to shoot Devdas and Sujata.

The Bimal Roy Memorial Trophy has been awarded every year since 1997, by the Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society to honor both experienced artists and other contributors from the Indian film industry as well as a new and upcoming outstanding young filmmaker.

A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 8 January 2007.

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