You see Bimalda was quite well known to us - we were in the same studio for almost a year and a half. Earlier than that time there was a script, a film, that I was supposed to do with him. But it didn't come off, but I knew him intimately. He was a very friendly, affectionate person. So there was no problem of communication or any awkwardness whatsoever.
|January 8 is Bimal Roy's death anniversary. Photo courtesy: Peter Chappell|
He mentioned to me that he wanted to make Devdas and would like me to work in it. So, this being Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's most talked-about work, it sounded quite challenging. I read the novel quite a number of times. Familiarised and refamiliarised myself with the novel, it also helped to read his other novels too. The characters, the culture, the ethos that was depicted in the novel Devdas, grows on you, and you could develop a relationship with that way of life. So, gradually I got familiarised myself and identified with Devdas.
Devdas is all bound in tradition. He does not have the courage to rebel. He loves Parvati immensely and he punishes her and he punishes himself. But he could not assert himself and do what would be considered quite simple by the prevailing standards. This was what makes the pathos more acute because that was a time when a man or a girl could not think of doing anything except what he or she was supposed to do, as the elders demanded.
I think Bimal Roy was one of the most significant motion-picture makers, not only of the '50s, but in the history of Indian cinema.
And apart from being a man obsessed by cinema, a great creative director, he was personally a beautiful man.
|Dilip Kumar, interviewed by Nasreen Munni Kabir for her documentary on Bimal Roy The Silent Thunder produced for Channel 4 TV, UK in 1988. Photo courtesy: Peter Chappell|