Happy Birthday, Basu Chatterjee!
Basu Chatterjee, the man behind some memorable middle of the road films that reflected the Indian middle class, turned 89 years today.
Basu Chatterjee, the renowned film director, and screenwriter is best known for his light-hearted films — Rajnigandha, Chhoti Si Baat, Chitchor, Piya Ka Ghar, Baton Baton Mein and Shaukeen — which were released in the 70s and early 80s. His films dealt with simple stories of middle-class families, residing mostly in urban settings. These focused on family, marital and love relationships.
A political cartoonist at Blitz, one of India’s biggest weeklies in the early 1960s, Basu Chatterjee stepped into the world of celluloid as assistant director to Basu Bhattacharya for the latter’s debut film Teesri Kasam in 1965 and Govind Saraiya in Saraswatichandra. Four years later he made his first film Sara Akash, based on a novel by Rajendra Yadav, starting off on an illustrious journey.
Through the 1970s and 80s, he became associated with what came to be known as middle cinema or middle-of-the-road cinema, with filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Bhattacharya. Some of his remarkable films are Chhoti Si Baat (1976), Chitchor (1976), Rajnigandha (1974), Piya Ka Ghar (1972), Baaton Baaton Mein (1979) and Shaukeen (1982).
He directed Superstars Dev Anand in Man Pasand, Rajesh Khanna in Chakravyuh and Amitabh Bachchan in Manzil. Even as these films did not do well, these were critically acclaimed.
Basu Chatterjee has directed many Bengali films too, including Hothat Brishti, Hochcheta Ki and Hothat Shei Din which went on to be hit and are landmarks in Bengali cinema.