Mud rimmed kurtas and Dhol Dhole pajamas are a trademark of the artists from Bengal, and they are forever surrounded by smoke and creativity! But we have Bengal to thank for, for it has produced some of the best finds of Bollywood!
1. Satyajit Ray
Fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, music composer, graphic designer filmmaker Satyajit Ray directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and created Feluda, the sleuth, and Professor Shonku, the scientist, for us!
From Pather Panchali (1955), to Aparajito (1956) to Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) (1959), the winner of 32 National Film Awards, Bharat Ratna Satyajit Ray was a man beyond convention, a man who is a legend!
2. Bimal Roy
Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, Bimal Roy made socialist, realistic theme-based movies which were important harbingers of change in Indian cinema in the first half of the 20th century!
3. Shakti Samanta
Another star on this list is Shakti Samanta. He started with Howrah Bridge, followed by other romances like Kashmir Ki Kali and An Evening in Paris but wanted to shift to making films on social themes. However he was unsuccessful, and shifted back to making entertainers for another decade, and returned to social themes, with Aradhana only in 1969. He also started the trend of making double version films in Hindi and Bengali with Amanush in 1974.
4. Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Hrishi-da was a man ahead of his time, people say. A director who had a knack to capture the heart and soul of the Indian middle class and the changes in the society with time. It is also said that he carved a middle path between the extravagance of mainstream cinema and the stark realism of art cinema. This was seen in his repertoire, ranging from serious movies like Abhimaan, Anand, Namak Haraam to delightful comedies like Golmaal and Khoobsurat.
5. Rituparno Ghosh
Known for a lot of other things than his directorial skills, Ghosh was one of the few openly gay figures in Indian cinema and was considered an icon of the LGBT community. Rituparno worked on adaptations of books and novels and gave us some real hard hitting movies like Chokher Bali with Aishwarya and Raincoat with Aishwarya again. He proved his mettle not only in Bollywood but was also one of the finest directors of Bengali cinema.
6. Anurag Basu
This acclaimed director happens to be a man of real substance! A cancer survivor, he is still a happy soul who has given Bollywood some real soulful sobs. Life In A Metro was one of a kind as we stepped into the 21st century after a series of misfit movies with Emraan Hashmi (Murder was huge leap of culture for mainstream cinema too!). The passionate director later captured the essence of life with Barfi!, a movie which was THE EXPERIMENT which put him on a pedestal along with the stalwarts of Bollywood.
7. Dibakar Banerjee
Believe it or not but Bengali directors are all bold and advanced when it came to stories and plotlines. Dibakar Banerjee is the man who gave us Love Sex Aur Dhokha! Yes now with a gazillion Hollywood channels, Youtube and Netflix it’s a regular thing but even thinking about planning and executing a story like LSD needed bravado, to deal with the Censor Board and a country that thrives on a strict no-no to sex and sleaziness on screen.
8. Shoojit Sircar
The Piku guy! Vicky Donor! Madras Café! The filmmaker needs no recognition. A new age director who entered the fray at his own pace made a mark of his own, and the celebrated director who brushes shoulders with Amitabh Bachchan every now and then, is setting standards for social movies again.
9. Sujoy Ghosh
Now whenever you think of offbeat movies, the pioneer is Jhankaar Beats for sure, which somehow bridged the line between art and mainstream cinema. A series of duds followed with Home Delivery and Aladin, and the very talented director came out with a blockbuster that Indian audiences had never seen before, Kahaani, which was a superb movie by all standards, and Sujoy has never looked back after that.
10. Ayan Mukherjee
Just like there are star sons, Ayan Mukherjee is a star director, cousin to Rani and Kajol, he began his Bollywood journey with Swades under brother-in-law Ashutosh Gowariker. And once Wake Up Sid! happened, he set a benchmark and leaped over it himself with Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani. His close association with Ranbir is also well-known.
That is quite a count now, isn’t it?