Gurudas Banerjee

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This article is about Gurudas Banerjee, the actor. For the judge, see Gooroodas Banerjee.
Gurudas Banerjee
Occupation Actor (theatre and cinema); Head of theatrical company
Years active 1940s to 1980s
Spouse(s) Molina Devi

Gurudas Banerjee, also known as Gurudas Bandyopadhyay,[1] is a Bengali stage and film actor who was active from the 1940s through the 1980s.[2] As an actor, he commonly played holy men, especially the 19th century Bengali mystic Sri Ramakrishna, a role he was said to "almost monopolize." He acted in more than 80 films, mostly in Bengali. With his wife, actress Molina Devi, he also directed a Calcutta-based theatre troupe, M. G. Enterprises.

Biography[edit]

Gurudas Banerjee had his stage debut in 1948 at Calcutta's Kalika Theatre in the role of Sri Ramakrishna in Yugadevata.[3] He continued acting in theatre and cinema until the 1980s. Banerjee married Molina Devi (1917-1977), who has been characterized as "one of the finest actresses of Indian theatre and cinema."[4]:275 Together, they operated their own touring theatre, M. G. Enterprises,[5]:688 which "specialized in commercial productions of devotional drama" in which Banerjee played the role of Sri Ramakrishna and other holy men."[4]:275

Roles[edit]

Photo of Sri Ramakrishna, a role in which by Gurudas Banerjee was a "specialist" and that he "almost monopolized."[5]:688

Gurudas Banerjee acted in a variety of roles, very commonly as Sri Ramakrishna, which he played on both stage and in film. Other roles that Banerjee played in film included Sadhak Bamakhyapa (Sadhak Bamakshyapa, 1958; Joy Maa Tara, 1978),[6][7] Gobinda, Husband Of Chandi (Swayamsiddha, 1947), Ramola's Father (Sare Chuattar, 1953),[8] Jitu, Anita's Father (Ekti Raat, 1956),[8] Pishemashai (Indranath, Srikanta O Annadadidi, 1959), Neepa's Father (Mouchak, 1975),[8] and Agniswar's Father-in-law (Agniswar, 1975).[8]

From the 1950s through the 1970s, Gurudas Banerjee[9] commonly portrayed Ramakrishna in the Bengali Theatre and films. Beginning in the late 1940s, "he almost monopolized this role [of Ramakrishna] as a specialist, both on the stage and on the screen,"[5]:688 and was still portraying Ramakrishna in the late-1970s.[3] Sushil Mukherjee explains that the drama Jugadevata, which debuted on the Calcutta stage on 19 November 1948,

was a devotional drama... on the life of the Saint of Dakshineswar [Ramakrishna] [that] became immensely popular and established two artistes who became wholly identified with the two characters they represented. These were Gurudas Banerjee who was seen as Sri Ramkrishna and Molina Debi who appeared as Rani Rasmoni, the founder of the famous Bhabatarini (Kali) temple at Dakshineswar. Since their appearance in Jugadevata at Kalika in 1948 Gurudas and Molina have appeared in the characters of these two persons in a number of other plays, both on the stage and on the screen....[5]:288

Films in which Banerjee played the role of Ramakrishna included Rani Rashmoni (1955), Mahakavi Girish Chandra (1956), Bireswar Vivekananda (1964), and Jata Mat Tata Path (1979). Theatrical plays in which Banerjee played Ramakrishna included Jugadebata (1948), Thakur Sri Ramakrishna (1955), and Nata Nati (1975).

Reception[edit]

According to Sushil Mukherjee, in the many screen and stage appearances since 1948 in which Banerjee and Molina Devi have played Ramakrishna and Rani Rashmoni together, they "have carried the audience with them in every performance."[5]:288

In 1966, the The Illustrated Weekly of India mentioned Banerjee's troupe's performance in a review of the 1965-66 theatre season in Delhi.[10] The Weekly stated that

Milan Samity of Delhi sponsored the M. G. Enterprise of Calcutta, who brought two plays, Thakur Shri Ramakrishna and Baskunther Will, and an able company of actors. The credit for composing Thakur Shri Ramakrishna, round the story of Rani Rashmoni, and for bringing this legendary figure to life on the stage, goes to Molina Devi and Gurudas, who headed the company.... It is not easy to put across a religious theme, but Molina and Gurudas did so convincingly, helped greatly by the telling effects of light and music.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Gurudas Banerjee acted in more than 80 films, mostly in Bengali, as listed here (including year released, and role if available; all films in Bengali unless otherwise noted):[11]

  • Banglar Meye (1941)[12]
  • Swayamsiddha (1947) (Gobinda, Husband Of Chandi[8])
  • Kalo Chhaya (1948)
  • Ultorath (1949)
  • Paribartan (1949)
  • Mayajaal (1949)
  • Kuasha (1949)
  • Cartoon (1949)
  • Vidyasagar (1950)
  • Sree Tulsidas (1950)
  • Sanchali (1950)
  • Sahodar (1950)
  • Kankantala Light Railway (1950)
  • Jugadebata (1950)
  • Gypsy Meye (1950)
  • Apabad (1950)
  • Ganyer Meye (1951)
  • Bhakta Raghunath (1951)
  • Bhairab Mantra (1951)
  • Anandamath (1951)
  • Vidyasagar (1952, Hindi)[12]
  • Sabitri Satyaban (1952)
  • Nildarpan (1952)
  • Mahishasur Badh (1952)
  • Sanjibani (1952)
  • Sarala (1953)
  • Rami Chandidas (1953)
  • Maharaja Nandakumar (1953)
  • Bhagaban Srikrishna Chaitanya (1953)
  • Sare Chuattar (1953) (Ramola's Father[8])
  • Makarsar Jaal (1953)[13]
  • Shibashakti (1954)
  • Sada Kalo (1954)
  • Naa (1954)
  • Rani Rashmoni (1955) (Sri Ramakrishna[7])
  • Katha Kao (1955)
  • Joy Maa Kali Boarding (1955)
  • Chatujye Banrujye (1955)
  • Atmadarshan (1955)
  • Aparadhi (1955)
  • Sajher Pradip (1955)
  • Debatra (1955)
  • Subholagna (1956)
  • Sadhak Ramprasad (1956)
  • Rajpath (1956)
  • Mahakabi Girishchandra (1956) (Sri Ramakrishna[7])
  • Bhola Master (1956)
  • Asamapta (1956)
  • Abhagir Swarga (1956)
  • Ekti Raat (1956) (Jitu, Anita's Father[8])
  • Tamasa (1957)
  • Nilachale Mahaprabhu (1957)
  • Ami Baro Habo (1957)
  • Sree Sree Maa (1958)
  • Sadhak Bamakshyapa (1958) (Sadhak Bamakhyapa[6])
  • Purir Mandir (1958)
  • Mejo Jamai (1958)
  • Kangsa (1958)
  • Jonakir Alo (1958)
  • Indranath, Srikanta O Annadadidi (1959) (Pishemashai)
  • Abhishap (1959)
  • Tailangaswami (1960)
  • Nader Nimai (1960)
  • Kono Ek Din (1960)
  • Sadhak Kamalakanta (1961)
  • Carey Saheber Munsi (1961)
  • Taranisen Badh (1962)
  • Bireswar Viveknanda (1964) (Sri Ramakrishna[7])
  • Rup Sanatan (1965)
  • Bharater Sadhak (1965)
  • Debitirtha Kamrup Kamakshya (1967)
  • Adyashakti Mahamayay (1968)
  • Trinayani Maa (1971)
  • Umno O Jhumno (1975)
  • Swayamsiddha (1975)
  • Mouchak (1975) (Neepa's Father[8])
  • Agniswar (1975) (Agniswar's Father-in-law[8])
  • Nagar Darpane (1975)
  • Sree Sree Maa Lakshmi (1977)
  • Baba Taraknath (1977)
  • Jaal Sanyasi (1977)
  • Joy Maa Tara (1978) (Sadhak Bamakhyapa[7])
  • Balak Saratchandra (1978)
  • Aguner Phulki (1978)
  • Jato Mat Tato Path (1979) (Sri Ramakrishna[7])
  • Dub De Mon Kali Bole (1979)
  • Matribhakta Ramprasad (1980)
  • Abhi (1980)
  • Maa Bhabani Maa Amar (1982)
  • Kshyapa Thakur (1987) (Mohanto baba[8])
  • Bile Naren (1988)

Film table with references[edit]

Further details on selected films appear in the table below.[14] Films known to be dubbed versions of other films have not been listed. Any films known to be multilinguals (separately filmed in multiple languages) are explicitly noted as multilinguals.[15][16]

Year Film Title Banerjee Role Film Director Notes & Sources
(DB=data base)
1950 Jugadebata Sri Ramakrishna[17] Bidhayak Bhattacharya Bengali; Sources: DBs,[18] other[19]
1950 Vidyasagar Sri Ramakrishna Kali Prasad Ghosh Bengali; Sources: DBs,[20][21] other[22]
1952 Vidyasagar Sri Ramakrishna[17] Kali Prasad Ghosh Hindi; Sources: DBs[23]
1955 Rani Rashmoni Sri Ramakrishna Kali Prasad Ghosh Bengali; Sources: DBs[24] Molina Devi as Rani Rashmoni
1958 Sadhak Bamakhyapa Sadhak Bamakhyapa Banshi Ash Bengali; Sources: DBs[6][25]
1956 Mahakavi Girish Chandra Sri Ramakrishna Madhu Bose Bengali; Sources: DBs[26] Pahadi Sanyal as Girish Chandra Ghosh. The film won a 1956 Certificate of Merit.[27]
1964 Bireswar Vivekananda Sri Ramakrishna Madhu Bose Bengali; Sources: DBs[28][29] Amaresh Das as Vivekananda
1979 Jata Mat Tata Path (As Many Views, As Many Ways) Sri Ramakrishna Gurudas Bagchi Bengali; Sources: DBs[30][31]

Theatre roles[edit]

The following table chronicles Gurudas Banerjee's stage career. It is not complete.

Opening date Title Role Location
Calcutta unless otherwise specified
Playwright Director Notes and other cast
19 Nov. 1948 Jugadebata Sri Ramakrishna Kalika Theatre Tarak Mukherjee Source;[5]:688 Also Molina Debi (Rani Rashmoni)
1955 Thakur Sri Ramakrishna Sri Ramakrishna Minerva Theatre Source;[5]:292 Also Molina Debi (Rani Rashmoni). Part of a state Congress celebration
1975 Nata Nati Sri Ramakrishna Rangana Theatre Ganesh Mukherjee Ganesh Mukherjee Source;[5]:342,688,777 Kartick Banerjee (Girish Gose), Basanti Chaterjee (Binodini), Sudhangsu Maiti (Narendranath), and others. Over 300 performances
Oct. 1977 Rajadrohi  ??[32] Rungmahal Theatre Saradindu Banerjee Source;[5]:322,688 Dilip Roy (hero), Lily Chakraverti (heroine)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ananda Lal The Oxford companion to Indian theatre 2004- Page 275 "Trained in acting by Aparesh Mukhopadhyay, she debuted in a silent movie as an 8- year-old. She began her stage career, like many of ... She teamed up with Gurudas Bandyopadhyay, her second husband, to form a troupe, M. G. Enterprise, which specialized in commercial productions of devotional drama where he enacted Ramakrishna and other holy men. She made quite a stir as the lead in the ..."
  2. ^ Sushil Kumar Mukherjee, Suśīla Mukhopādhyāẏa The story of the Calcutta theatres, 1753-1980 (1982), Page 342: "The cast included Gurudas Banerjee (Ramakrishna), Kartick Banerjee (Girish Ghose), Santosh Dutt (Danakali), ... "
  3. ^ a b Gurudas Banerjee played Ramakrishna in the film Jata Mat Tata Path (1979). Mukherjee's (1982) Story states that Gurudas Banerjee was "a popular actor [who] made his stage debut at Kalika in the late-forties of the [20th] century appearing as Sri Ramakrishna in Yugadevata (1948). Since then he has almost monopolized the role as a specialist, both on the stage and on the screen. His recent appearance in this role was in Nata Nati at Rangana (1975).... He has his own touring theatre, M. G. Enterprise..." (p. 688)
  4. ^ a b Lal, Ananda (2004). The Oxford companion to Indian theatre. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195644468. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mukherjee, Sushil Kumar (1982). The Story of the Calcutta Theatres, 1753-1980. Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi. 
  6. ^ a b c YOUTUBE (Part 1) (Part 2) (Gurudas Banerjee is credited as portraying Sadhak Bamakhyapa at 1:06 in video)
  7. ^ a b c d e f Role given by IMDB
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Role given by Gomolo
  9. ^ http://vidgrids.com/gurudas-bandopadhaya
  10. ^ a b G. S. Khosla (1966). "Theatre in the Capital". The Illustrated Weekly of India 87 (2): 59. ISSN 0019-2430. OCLC 6772824. 
  11. ^ Listed in Gomolo except as noted.
  12. ^ a b IMDB only (not Gomolo)
  13. ^ CITWF only (not Gomolo)
  14. ^ Information in the table of selected films is derived, as noted in the final column, from film entries in YouTube, or from Gurudas Banerjee at IMDB, Gomolo, or CITWF.
  15. ^ Some Indian films are known as "multilinguals," having been filmed in similar but non-identical versions in different languages. According to Rajadhyaksha and Willemen in the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (1994), in its most precise form, a multilingual is "a bilingual or a trilingual [that] was the kind of film made in the 1930s in the studio era, when different but identical takes were made of every shot in different languages, often with different leading stars but identical technical crew and music." They wrote that in seeking to assemble the Encyclopedia, it they often found it "extremely difficult to distinguish multilinguals in this original sense from dubbed versions, remakes, reissues or, in some cases, the same film listed with different titles, presented as separate versions in different languages.... it will take years of scholarly work to establish definitive data in this respect." Source: Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Paul Willemen (1994). Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema. New Delhi: Oxford University Press; British Film Institute (London). ISBN 019-563579-5. 
  16. ^ At present, no pairs of films listed in the table are known to be multilinguals; however, this category has been added for clarify, and to accommodate possible additional information (12 Feb 2013)
  17. ^ a b Probable but unconfirmed - see talk page
  18. ^ CITWF Gomolo (unlisted in IMDB)
  19. ^ Mentioned in p. 84 of Guptoo (2011) as "based on the [life] of... saint Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa"
  20. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  21. ^ YOUTUBE (2:06:46)
  22. ^ The actor appearing as Sri Ramakrishna in the last two minutes of Vidyasagar (1950) is readily identifiable as the same as the actor appearing in the role of Sri Ramakrishna in Mahakavi Girish Chandra (1956), as viewable in the State Awards for Mils Programme (1956) (page 9) (accessed 12 Feb 2013).
  23. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  24. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  25. ^ CITWF Gomolo (unlisted in IMDB)
  26. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  27. ^ State Awards for Mils Programme (1956) (page 8). (accessed 12 Feb 2013)
  28. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  29. ^ YOUTUBE (Part 1 (1:05:49), Part 2 (1:04:16) no subtitles)
  30. ^ CITWF Gomolo IMDB
  31. ^ YOUTUBE (2:03:38, English subtitles)
  32. ^ Unclear - needs research - see talk page

External links[edit]