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Bimal Roy:

Bimal Roy

Bimal Roy (Bengali: বিমল রায়) (12 July 1909 – 8 January 1966) was an Indian film director. He is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, making him an important director of Hindi cinema. Inspired by Italian neo-realistic cinema, he made Do Bigha Zameen after watching Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948). His work is particularly known for his mise en scène which he employed to portray realism. He won a number of awards throughout his career, including eleven Filmfare Awards, two National Film Awards, and the International Prize of the Cannes Film Festival. Madhumati won 9 Filmfare Awards in 1958, a record held for 37 years.


Bimal Roy was born on 12 July 1909, to a zamindar family in Suapur, Dhaka then part of the Eastern Bengal and Assam province of British India and now part of Bangladesh.


Bimal Roy moved to Calcutta and entered the field of cinema as a camera assistant with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd.. During this time, he assisted director P.C. Barua as Publicity Photographer, on the hit 1935 film Devdas, starring K.L. Saigal. In the 1940s and 1950s Roy was part of the parallel cinema movement in post-war India. He made with Anjangarh (1948), one of last major films of the New Theatres, however Kolkata based film industry was now on the decline, thus Roy shifted base to Bombay (now Mumbai) along with his team in 1950, which included Hrishikesh Mukherjee (editor), Nabendu Ghosh (screenwriter), Asit Sen (assistant director), Kamal Bose (cinematographer) and later Salil Chaudhury (music director), and by 1952 he has restarted the second phase of his career with Maa (1952) for Bombay Talkies. He was famous for his romantic-realist melodramas that took on important social issues while still being entertaining. He was a filmmaker of great and indepth understanding of human strengths and weaknesses. In 1959, he was a member of the jury at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival.

He died of cancer on 08 January 1966 at the age of 55.

He was survived by four children, Aparajita Sinha, Yashodhara and Joy Roy and eldest Rinki Bhattacharya, who heads by the Bimal Roy Memorial Committee.


Bimal Roy has been awarded with several awards.

Filmfare Awards:

National Film Awards:

Cannes Film Festival:

Won International Prize:

Nominated for Grand Prize of the Festival:

Nominated for Palme d'Or:


Bimal Roy usually alternated between music directors Salil Chowdhury and S.D. Burman. His films featured beautiful and memorable songs, rendered by all the top playback singers of the day. Some of the notable songs from Roy's films include:

  • "Jalte Hain Jiske Liye" from Sujata (1959), sung by Talat Mahmood
  • "Chali Radhe Rani" from Parineeta (1953), sung by Manna Dey
  • "Aa Ri Aa Nindiya" from Do Bigha Zamin (1953), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "Ab Aage Teri Marzi" from Devdas (1955), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "Dil Tadap Tadap Ke Keh Raha" from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar
  • "Suhana Safar Aur Yeh Mausam Haseen" from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Mukesh
  • "Aaja Re Pardesi" from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadake" from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • "Zulmi Sang Aankh Ladi" from Madhumati (1958), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "O Sajana Barkha Bahaar" from Parakh (1960), music by Salil Chowdhury, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "Mora Gora Ang Lai Le" from Bandini (1963), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
  • "O Jaanewale Ho Sake To Laut Ke Aana" from Bandini (1963), music by S.D. Burman, sung by Mukesh


Bimal Roy's influence was far-reaching, both in Indian cinema and world cinema. In Indian cinema, his influence extended to both mainstream commercial Hindi cinema and the emerging Parallel Cinema. His film Two Acres of Land (1953) was the first film to successfully stradle art and commercial cinema. It was a commercial and critical success, winning the International Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. The film's success paved the way for the Indian New Wave as a result.

In commercial cinema, the most influential film he directed was perhaps Madhumati (1958), his first and only collaboration with Ritwik Ghatak (who wrote the screenplay) and one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation. It is believed to have been the source of inspiration for many later works dealing with the theme of reincarnation in Indian cinema, Indian television, and perhaps world cinema. It may have been the source of inspiration for the American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) and the Hindi film Karz (1980), both of which dealt with reincarnation and have been influential in their respective cultures. Karz in particular was remade several times: as the Kannada film Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film Enakkul Oruvan (1984), and more recently the Bollywood film Karzzzz (2008). Karz may have also inspired the American film Chances Are (1989). The most recent film to be directly inspired by Madhumati is the hit Bollywood film Om Shanti Om (2007), which led to Roy's daughter Rinki Bhattacharya accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.

Bimal Roy's films continue to be screened at major national and international film festivals in India, Europe and North America. His films are being restored and digitised by the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) at Pune. In July 2014, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai hosted an exhibition, Bimal Roy: Life & Times, organised in collaboration with his children. The exhibits included screening of films, Madhumati, Sujata and Bandini, besides film posters, costumes and memorabilia, including an Arriflex camera used to shoot Devdas and Sujata.

A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 8 January 2007.