Remembering P. C. Barua, the legendary actor-filmmaker of Indian cinema, on his 72nd death anniversary (29/11/1951).

BollywooDirect
2 min readNov 29, 2023

Remembering P. C. Barua, the legendary actor-filmmaker of Indian cinema, on his 72nd death anniversary (29/11/1951). The now-forgotten actor and filmmaker, Pramathesh Chandra Barua, entered films at a time when Indian cinema and its filmmakers were shaping its identity. Pramathesh Chandra Barua was a prominent figure in the Indian film industry, born on October 24, 1903, in Gauripur, Assam. His entry into the world of cinema was a twist of fate, starting his journey in 1926 with British Dominion Films Ltd. In 1929, he made his acting debut in “Panchashar,” directed by Debaki Kumar Bose. It was the encouragement of actress Sabita Devi that led him to establish his own studio, which marked the beginning of an illustrious career. In 1930, after a medical trip to England, Barua expanded his knowledge in Paris and London, bringing back not just expertise but also equipment that would revolutionize Indian filmmaking. With Barua Film Unit, he pioneered the use of artificial lighting in his film “Apradhi” (1931), introducing techniques that were new to Indian cinema. Barua’s craft continued to evolve as he produced films like “Nisher Dak” and wrote and acted in “Ekada.” His contributions as a villain in “Bhagyalakshmi” further showcased his versatility. The arrival of talkies saw him directing “Bengal-1983,” a project that unfortunately didn’t succeed, leading to the closure of his company. However, Barua’s fate took a positive turn when he joined New Theatres in 1933, where he directed “Rooplekha,” employing innovative narrative techniques like flashbacks. His rendition of Devdas in 1935 became iconic, with his personal lifestyle believed to have added depth to his portrayal. The film’s success was attributed to its technical advancements and storytelling methods. Barua didn’t shy away from bold themes, as seen in “Mukti,” where he merged the beauty of Assam with cinema. He continued to break norms with “Rajat Jayanti,” the first Indian comedy talkie, and “Adhikaar,” which introduced social criticism to Indian cinema. Despite his success, Barua’s health deteriorated due to heavy drinking, and he passed away on November 29, 1951. His legacy lives on, remembered for his pioneering work and his impact on future generations of filmmakers.

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