Roopa Ganguly

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Roopa Ganguly
Rupa Ganguly.jpg
Native name রূপা গঙ্গোপাধ্যায়
Born (1966-11-25) 25 November 1966 (age 50)[1]
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Actress
Singer
Politician
Years active 1985–present
Notable work Muktabandha
Streer Patra
Mahabharat
Padma Nadir Majhi
Janani
Yugant
Antarmahal
Krantikaal
Ek Mutho Chabi
Abosheshey
Spouse(s) Dhruba Mukherjee (1992–2006, Divorced)[2]
Children Akash Mukherjee[3]
Awards Bengal Film Journalists' Association – Best Supporting Actress Award (1996) for Ujan
Bengal Film Journalists' Association – Best Supporting Actress Award (2006) for Antarmahal
National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer (2011) for Abosheshey
Roopa Ganguly
MP of Rajya Sabha (Nominated) [4]
Assumed office
4 October 2016
Preceded by Navjot Singh Sidhu
Personal details
Political party BJP
Signature

Roopa (or Rupa) Ganguly (Bengali: রূপা গঙ্গোপাধ্যায়, rupa gônggopaddhae; born 25 November 1966) is an Indian actress, playback singer and politician.[5][6][7] She is one of the most popuplar faces of Indian television and mostly known her rendition of Draupadi in B R Chopra's hit television series Mahabharat (1988). A veteran of Bengali Parallel Cinema, she is known and for her versatility as well as keen and incisive transformation into characters.[8] She has worked with renowned directors like Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Goutam Ghose and Rituparno Ghosh. She won many awards including a National Award.[9] She has been cited as the Bengali Film Industry's answer to Bollywood's Shabana Azmi for her intense ability of acting.[10] She is a trained Rabindra Sangeet vocalist and a classical dancer.[11] In October, 2015, she was nominated as the Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, by the President of India.[12] She served as the President of BJP Mahila Morcha in West Bengal.[13] She served as the General Secretary[14][15] and the Vice President[16] for the West Bengal Motion Picture Artistes' Forum, a body representing cine artistes.[11]

Ganguly rose to renown for her performance in the Bengali television series Muktabandha but rose to a higher prominence after she essayed the role of Mrinal in the 1985 Bengali TV series Streer Patra. She got her first national break in Ganadevta (1986) TV series and shot to wider fame and popularity after she had played the character of Draupadi in Baldev Raj Chopra's Mahabharat (1988 TV series).[17] She reprised the role Draupadi in Baldev Raj Chopra's Mahabharat Katha. She was further appreciated for her roles in TV series like Virasat and Sukanya. She acted a small part in Mrinal Sen's Ek Din Achanak (1989). In early nineties she acted in a number of commercial films but most of them flopped at box office. In 1993, she appeared In Goutam Ghose's National Award winning Bengali film Padma Nadir Majhi (1993)[18] which earned her critical acclamation for her enticing portrayal of Kapila in it.[19][20] She also earned rave review at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 1994, for her performance in Sanat Dasgupta's National Award winning Bengali film Janani (1993).[21][22] In 1995, she appeared in Amal Ray Ghatak's Bengali film Ujan which earned her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996. She then played the character of Anasuya, an obsessed dancer in Aparna Sen's National Award-winning Bengali film Yugant (1995).[23] After that for a long duration she was not seen in any strong role till Rituparno Ghosh came to her with the offer of Antarmahal (2005) which earned her rave critical acclamation[24] as well as the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. In the same year she acted in a role of a conceited actress in Anjan Dutt's Tarpor Bhalobasa which once again earned her rave critical acclamation.[25] She was also acclaimed for her performance in Sekhar Das's National Award winning Bengali film Krantikaal (2005).[26][27] In January 2006, she was named by The Indian Express in the list of the five most powerful actresses of 2005.[28] She went on to earn further recognition for her roles in films like Kaaler Rakhal (2009), Chowrasta - The Crossroads of Love (2009), Chaurahen (2012), Na Hannyate (2012), Dutta Vs Dutta (2012) and Punascha (2014). In 2011, she won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey (2012).[29]

Ganguly has mostly been approached to play tameless determined characters rather than usual submissive helpless ones or it would be better to state that she has always been identified with those characters of strong resolution and free will.[30] She has been highly applauded for her unwavering roles in films like Antarmahal (2005), Ek Mutho Chabi (2005), Dutta Vs Dutta (2012) to name a few. Goutam Ghose said that "she has that skill to transform herself into any characters she plays."[8] Rituparno Ghosh described her as "a roisterer of pathos and exuberance through the portrayal of her characters."[8] Mira Nair described her as "one of those most confident and powerful actresses around."[8]

Personal life[edit]

Roopa Ganguly was born in Kalyani near Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She grew up in a joint family.[citation needed] She was a student of Beltala Girls' High School[citation needed], from which she finished her secondary examination (Madhyamik Pariksha). Later, she obtained a bachelor's degree from the Jogamaya Devi College, an affiliated undergraduate women's college of University of Calcutta, in Kolkata.[31]

Ganguly was married to Dhrubo Mukerjee from 1992 until 2006. They had one child in 1997.[2] She was also in a live-in relationship with her singer companion, Dibyendu. The couple lived in Ganguly's Mumbai flat until the end of their relationship.[32][33]

Film career[edit]

Debut and Breakthrough (1986 - 1989)[edit]

Ganguly rose to renown for her performance in the hit Bengali television series Muktabandha. She was featured in the much acclaimed Bengali t.v. series Streer Patra (1985) which won her huge accolades. She got her first national break in Ganadevta (1986), a Hindi television series.[34] She shot to wider popularity after essaying the pivotal role of Draupadi, in B.R. Chopra's mythological TV series, Mahabharat (1988), which immediately got her huge mass attentions.[35] In this TV series, she appeared for the first time on the thirty-fourth episode but it was the forty-seventh episode where the Vastraharan sequence was aired and her performance in it turned her into an exemplification of Draupadi over a long time. The dignity and vigour she displayed as Draupadi especially in the Vastraharan sequence is something that has been and will be a hard challenge to be replicated ever.[36] The way she threw those invigorated words, "Aankhen jhukana kisi samasya ka samadhan nahi hai" captivated the hearts of millions and through the generations onward she has been impersonated as Draupadi.[36]

She was consecutively paired with Chiranjeet Chakraborty in Prabhat Roy's Bengali films like Pratik (1988), Tufan (1989) and Agnitrishna (1989). She acted in Mrinal Sen's much acclaimed Hindi Film Ek Din Achanak (1989) and Basu Chatterjee's Hindi film Kamla Ki Maut (1989).

Flaccid Career (1990 - 2004)[edit]

In 1990, she appeared in Tariq Shah's Hindi film Baahar Aane Tak which was a box office debacle. Onwards she appeared in films like Kovelamudi Bapayya's Pyar Ka Devta (1991), Raj Sippy's Saugandh (1991), Rajkumar Kohli's Virodhi (1992) to name a few. In 1991, she acted in the blockbuster Kannada film Police Matthu Dada directed by Tulsi Ramsay and Shyam Ramsay. In the same year she appeared in its Hindi remake titled under Inspector Dhanush. The film flopped at box office. In 1992, she acted in A V Seshagiri Rao's Telegu film Inspector Bhavani where she played the character of a sincere police officer whose object is to bring an end to those who assassinated her fiancee.[37] In the same year, she acted in Sukanta Roy's Bengali film Pitrireen where she played the character of Sathi, a photographer who enquires about her father's assassin.

In 1993, she appeared in Goutam Ghose's award-winning Bengali film Padma Nadir Majhi where she played the character of Kapila, a woman from the fishermen community who falls for her sister's huaband and finally leaves her family to settle with him in Moynadeep island. Her performance in this film was highly appreciated by the critics and media personalities. Utpal Dutt who was also a part of this venture, was recorded to comment on her performance, “Roopa has really lived the life of Kapila with those flawless body languages of a woman from the fisherman community.”[38] In 1995, she appeared in Amal Roy Ghatak's Bengali film Ujan which won her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996. In 1996, she appeared in Aparna Sen's award-winning Bengali film Yugant where she played the character of an obsessed dancer. Her performance in the film won favourable review.[39] Apart from acting in feature films she went on appearing in numerous telefilms and television series, both in Bengali and Hindi, including Sukanya (1998).

In 2000, she appeared in Rituparno Ghosh's award-winning Bengali film Bariwali where she played the character of Sudeshna Mitra, an actress playing the character of Binodini in a film Chokher Bali directed by the male protagonist. In 2001, she appeared in a cameo role in Goutam Ghose's award-winning Bengali film Dekha. Though she made a cameo appearance in it, she garnered huge mass attention as the film was widely advertised on her enthralling dialogue, "Sagar dekhben naa, shudhu amake dekhun." In the film she rendered her character with a fine, seductive approach especially in the Eki Labonyo Purna Prate song sequence where the character played by Soumitra Chatterjee recalls up an earlier moment of Ganguly gazing back at him.[40] In 2003, she appeared in Gautam Ghose's Bengali film Abar Aranye where she played the character of Shimul a buoyant woman who is grief-stricken at the deepest core of her heart for the probable loss of her husband. She appeared in a cameo role in Bow Barracks forever (2004) by Anjan Dutt.[41]

Prime Flow in Career (2005 - 2015)[edit]

In 2005, she appeared in Rituparno Ghosh's award-winning Bengali film Antarmahal where she played the character of Mahamaya, a docile wife to an arrogant zamindar. Her performance in the film was hugely appeciated by film critics.[42][43][44] Her Mahamaya is a worthy contender to lead any listing of memorable women characters from Ghosh’s abundant array of some seriously multi-dimensional female protagonists seen on celluloid in recent times. She rekindles memories of her fiery act of Draupadi in B R Chopra’s Mahabharat (1988 TV series) through her blow hot, blow cold performance.[45] The film’s narrator may be the British artist, but hers is the character that drives its most dramatic moments and through whom the audience is warned about the catastrophe in waiting. From a jealous, wasted aging wife in the beginning, she seizes screen presence with her every appearance lacing it with new untapped facets to her personality. To her husband’s employees, she is like an incarnation of the goddess-provider, to Jashomati she is the nurturer and to the voyeuristic exploitative priests she is the ultimate sexual tease. In the zamindar’s ‘antarmahal’ abounding with women resigned to their fates, she is a thinking, living, sexual being, who sets her own agendas and seeks her own pleasures, almost like a man. She herself considered this role as a big challenge as it was inherently contrary to her personality.[30] The film won her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. In the same year, she appeared in Sekhar Das's award-winning Bengali film Krantikaal (2005) where she played the character of Subarna who befriends a terrorist who broke into her house.[46] She appeared in Raj Mukherjee's Bengali film Nagordola (2005) where she portrayed the character of an arrogant and rude woman who gets diagnosed as having throat cancer and realises that life is not like it has conventionally been and gives her full consent to her own unmarried daughter to give birth of her baby and to bring it up. The film was a major hit at box office for its contemporary social issue. Her performance in the film earn her an Anandalok Award nomination in the Best Actress in the Leading Role category in 2006. She acted in the much acclaimed Bengali film Ek Mutho Chabi (2005) produced by herself, where she played the character of an established actress who meets a car accident consequently losing her career.[47] In December, 2005, Ganguly was named by The Telegraph in the list of Five Crowning Queens of 2005 alongside Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Konkona Sen Sharma and Vidya Balan.[48]

In 2007, she again shifted her base to Mumbai and started working in Hindi TV series, with Karam Apnaa Apnaa (2007), moving on to Love Story (SAB TV series) (2007), and more recently in Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo (2009).


In 2009, she appeared in Sekhar Das's Bengali film Kaaler Rakhal.[49] She appeared in Anjan Dutt's film Chowrasta the Crossroads of love (2009).[50]

In 2011 she won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey (2012)[51] where she also acted. In the film, she portrayed the character of Suchismita.[52] She appeared in Birsa Dasgupta's Jaani Dyakha Hawbe (2011) which after much commercial expectation proved to be a failure at box office. She acted in Anurag Basu's blockbuster film Barfi! (2012). She acted in Anjan Dutt's Dutta Vs Dutta (2012) where she played the character of Runu mashi who lives her life on her own term and inspires the protagonist to live the life he desires.[53] She appeared in Riingo's Bengali film Na Hannyate (2012) where she played the character of Jui who is caught in a situation where she could save only one of her kids and leave the other to die.[54] In 2013, she appeared in Utsav Mukherjee's hilarious social-satirical film Half Serious. She played the role of goddess Durga in the film. She appeared in Rana Basu's Bengali film Namte Namte (2013).[55] She also appeared in Shekhar Das's Bengali film Nayanchampar Dinratri (2013).[56] In 2014, she appeared alongside Soumitra Chatterjee in Souvik Mitra's Bengali film Punascha where she played the muse of an award-winning author, played by Chatterjee. The film earned her rave review including the statement made by The Times of India that the film belongs to her only.[57] In 2015, she acted in Debesh Chottopadhyay's Bengali film Natoker Moto and Aparna Sen's Bengali film Arshinagar. She will be seen in the role of a foul mouthed politician in an upcoming Hindi film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz directed by Kushan Nandy.[58]

Political career[edit]

In 2015, Ganguly joined Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 2016.

In West Bengal Assembly elections 2016, Ganguly lost from Howrah North to Trinamool Congress counterpart and cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla.[citation needed]

She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in October 2016 in place of cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu who resigned earlier.[59][60]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Awards[edit]

Ganguly had won numerous awards including a National Award, Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards for two times and Kalakar Awards for three times. In 2011, she was awarded the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey.[61] She was awarded for her husky and haunting voice in the songs Dure Kothay[62] and Aji Bijan Ghare.[63]

Year Award Category Television series Result
1993 Kalakar Awards Best Actress Mukta Bandha Won[64]
2002 Kalakar Awards Best Actress Ingeet Won[64]
Year Award Category Film Result
1996 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Ujan Won[65]
1998 Kalakar Awards Best Actress Yugant Won[64]
2006 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Antarmahal Won[66]
2011 National Film Award Best Female Playback Singer Abosheshey Won[67]

Recognition[edit]

  • Social and cultural anthropologist Purnima Mankekar's ethnography of television-viewing in India, Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India, published by Duke University Press in 1999, features a still shot of Ganguly as Draupadi on its cover.[68][69]

Works[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Film Language Director Notes
1988 Pratik Bengali Prabhat Roy
1989 Ek Din Achanak Hindi Mrinal Sen
Amanat Bengali Shantanu Bhowmik
Agnitrishna Bengali Prabhat Roy
Tufan Bengali Prabhat Roy
Kamla Ki Maut Hindi Basu Chatterjee
1990 Manasi Bengali Amal Ray Ghatak
Agnikanya Bengali Gopal Gupta
Garmil Bengali Dilip Roy
Bahaar Aane Tak Hindi Tariq Shah
1991 Pyar Ka Devta Hindi Kovelamudi Bapayya
Meena Bazar Hindi
Police Matthu Dada Kannada Tulsi Ramsay
Shyam Ramsay
Inspector Dhanush Hindi Tulsi Ramsay
Shyam Ramsay
Kadana Kannada K V Raju
Saugandh Hindi Raj Sippy
Naa Ille Naa Swargam Telugu K. R. Reddy
Sadharan Meye Bengali Shamit Bhanja
1992 Inspector Bhavani Telegu
Nishchaiy Hindi Esmayeel Shroff Special appearance
Ranangini Assamese Chandra Mudoi
Dharma Yuddha Bengali Shamit Bhanja
Pitrireen Bengali Sukanta Ray
Surer Bhubane Bengali Prabir Mitra Special appearance
1993 Janani Bengali Sanat Dasgupta Ganguly plays the character of a woman who gets victimized by the rural, precarious culture of witchcraft.[70]
Padma Nadir Majhi Bengali Goutam Ghose Ganguly plays the character of Kapila who falls for sister's husband. She was applauded for her performance as well as her apt regional accent.
Prithibir Shesh Station Bengali Lalit Mukherjee
1994 Gopalaa Hindi Akash Jain
Rajar Raja Bengali Shamit Bhanja
1995 Ranbhoomi Oriya Pranab Das
Ujan Bengali Amal Ray Ghatak
1996 Yugant Bengali Aparna Sen Ganguly plays the character of a dancer to whom definition of art remained restricted to its visual effect.
2000 Bariwali Bengali Rituparno Ghosh
Rupasi Dohai Tomar Bengali
Bastir Meye Radha Bengali Chiranjeet Chakraborty
2001 Dekha Bengali Goutam Ghose
Shesh Bichar Bengali
2002 Anamni Angana Bengali Dr Swapan Saha
Bangali Babu Bengali Anjan Chowdhury
2003 Abar Aranye Bengali Goutom Ghosh
2004 Mahulbanir Sereng Bengali Sekhar Das
Bow Barracks Forever English Anjan Dutt
2005 Mayer Raja Bengali
Shunyo E Buke Bengali Kaushik Ganguly
Antarmahal Bengali Rituparno Ghosh
Krantikaal Bengali Sekhar Das
Tarpor Bhalobasa Bengali Anjan Dutt
Nagordola Bengali
2007 Bidhatar Lekha Bengali Raja Mukerji
2008 Khela Bengali Rituparno Ghosh Special appearance
2009 Luck Hindi Dhillin Mehta Special appearance
Kaaler Rakhal Bengali Sekhar Das
Chowrasta - Crossroads of Love Bengali Anjan Dutt
2010 Rahmat Ali Bengali
2011 Jaani Dyakha Hawbe Bengali
2012 Abosheshey Bengali Aditi Roy
Barfi! Hindi Anurag Basu
Mayabazaar Bengali
Hemlock Society Bengali Srijit Mukherjee
Chaurahen English Rajshree Ojha
Na Hannyate Bengali Ringo Banerjee
Nobel Chor Bengali Suman Ghosh
Dutta Vs Dutta Bengali Anjan Dutt
2013 Namte Namte Bengali Rana Basu
Half Serious Bengali Utsav Mukherjee
Shantiniketane Bengali
Aashbo Arek din Bengali
2014 Nayanchapar Dinratri Bengali Sekhar Das
Punascha Bengali Shouvik Mitra
2015 Natoker Moto - Like a Play Bengali Debesh Chattopadhyay
Arshinagar Bengali Aparna Sen

Television[edit]

References[edit]

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  59. ^ ‘Mahabharata’ fame and BJP leader Roopa Ganguly nominated to the Rajya Sabha
  60. ^ actor-and-bjp-leader-roopa-ganguly-nominated-to-the-rajya-sabha
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  68. ^ Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India
  69. ^ Duke University Press link on the book
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External links[edit]