Birthday Greetings to Madhabi Mukherjee!
Madhabi Mukherjee, who immortalised the intelligent, beautiful Charu in Satyajit Ray’s 1964 masterpiece, Charulata. Madhabi Mukherjee, a reputed actress of yesteryears, is one among the all-time greats of Bengali cinema.
She was was born Madhuri Mukherjee on February 10, 1942. When she joined the industry, Madhabi was about eight. Her first roles in cinema were in Dui Beyaai and Kankantala Light Railway in 1950. She was given the name Madhabi when she was introduced as a lead actress in Mrinal Sen’s Baishey Shravan (1960). Fifty five years ago Madhabi first appeared in Ray’s Mahanagar. A year later, in 1964, she acted in and as Charulata. Madhabi’s third and last film with Ray was Kapurush (1965). Madhabi also worked with the other Bengali giant, Ritwik Ghatak, in the 1962 film Subarnarekha.
In the late sixties, Raj Kapoor wanted her to act in Mera Naam Joker. He waited for six months for her to say yes and then finally approached Simi. Chetan Anand was keen to cast Madhabi Mukherjee in Aakhri Khat.Then, some years ago, Pradeep Sarkar offered her a role in Parineeta. She denied the offers as Hindi films never lured her.
Though she remained a big star in the Bengali commercial film industry, afterKapurush Madhabi failed to reach such critical heights — as her films with Ghatak and Ray — again. Her major films post Kapurush include Calcutta ’71 (1972), Biraj Bou (1972), Streer Patra (1972), Ganadevata (1978), Bancharamer Bagan (1980), Chokh (1982), Chhandaneer (1989) and Rituporno Ghosh’s Utsab (2000).
Madhabi Mukherjee is married to Bengali actor, Nirmal Kumar. She also wrote her autobiography Ami Madhabi in 1995.