Amol Palekar makes surprising comment on Basu Chatterjee

What Is Amol Palekar Trying To Say About Basu Chatterjee?

During his lifetime Basu Chatterjee directed 39 feature films and 7 television serials including the immensely popular Rajni.

He received immense love from the audience. His films such as Piya Ka Ghar(1972), Rajnigandha(1974), Chitchor(1976), Swami(1977), Khatta Meetha(1978), Shaukeen(1982) and Chameli Ki Shaadi(1986) made neat profits. In fact even flops like Uss Paar(a rural love affair between two sexually innocent people) and Tumhare Liye (on the theme of reincarnation) didn’t lose money.

It is therefore disheartening to have Amol Palekar who was one of Basuda’s favourite actors and worked repeatedly with him, make an irresponsible statement like this : “He (Basu Chatterjee) kept on making parallel films, without making any commercial compromises and yet made very successful films. He, being one of the pioneers in that, I feel the industry and the media never acknowledged this fact, this contribution of Basu da. I feel really sorry, that what was due to him, was never ever given to him.”

Mr Palekar’s comments are fallacious and misleading all the way. For one, Basuda did not make “parallel” films. That was a term used for offbeat non-mainstream cinema by Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahane, and Basu Bhattacharya (maybe Mr Palekar got the wrong Basu?). Basu Chatterjee made films that were accessible to every strata of society. He was the most democratic filmmaker I know. And Mr Palekar should know that better than anyone, having worked so closely with the maestro of the middle-class .

Secondly Mr Palekar says Basuda made films without “commercial compromises”. Wrong! Songs were a commercial compromise that Basuda happily made but insisted on putting most of the music in the background.

Mr Palekar then goes on to say he feels sorry that the media never acknowledged Basuda’s contribution and that he never got his due.

On the contrary I feel sorry for the fact that an actor who worked so closely with the filmmaker has so little knowledge of the filmmaker’s reach and impact. Basuda’s films are loved by one and all. His work is as fresh today as it was when it was made. I suggest Mr Palekar return to Rajanigandha, Chotisi Baat, Chitchor, Safed Jhooth and the other films he did with Basuda.

He may surprise himself.

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.

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