Buddhadeb Dasgupta, the Bengali poet and contemporary filmmaker, died in his sleep on Thursday in his South Kolkata residence after suffering from age-related ailments and kidney problems. He was undergoing dialysis.
He was 77.
Born in 1944 in Anara near Purulia in southern West Bengal, Dasgupta, who was initially an Economics lecturer, began his directorial career with a 10-minute documentary The Continent of Love in 1968 before his debut feature film Dooratwa in 1978.
In a career spanning over half a century, Dasgupta directed several documentaries, feature films and television movies along with several works of poetry.
Dasgupta won over 10 National Awards for Bagh Bahadur (1989), Charachar (1993), Lal Darja (1997), Mondo Meyer Upakhyan (2002) and Kaalpurush (2008) for Best Film, Uttara (2000) and Swapner Din (2005) for Best Direction, Phera (1987) for Best Screenplay and Best Feature Film in Bengali along with Dooratwa (1978) and Tahader Kotha (1993), and A Painter of Eloquent Silence: Ganesh Pyne (1998) for Best Arts/Cultural Film.
Other films directed and written by him that won several awards in international film festivals include Neem Annapurna (1980), Grihajuddha (1982), Janala (2009), Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa (2013), Tope (2016), Urojahaj (2020) and several others.
His works of poetry include Govir Araley, Chhaata Kahini, Coffin Kimba Suitcase, Sreshtha Kabita, Himjog, Roboter Gaan, and Bhomboler Ascharya Kahini O Ananya Kabita.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, popular Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee who worked with Dasgupta in Swapner Din, Ami, and Yasin Ar Amar Madhubala recalled his experience with the “master”. Chatterjee spoke about how proud and lucky he was to have worked with Dasgupta who was renowned for his films across the globe.
“The kind of work Buddha da did or rather believed in was a completely different section that made him one of the gems in world cinema,” said Chatterjee while remembering his experience during their visits to the Toronto Film Festival and a few others. He said he witnessed how Dasgupta had made his place in world cinema and how people reacted to his name without even seeing him.
“I feel proud that Buddha da is a Bengali. He has given us some great Bengali movies and I have watched them since my childhood days. He was a professor and a great human being with who we got to be close. It is very sad how everyone is getting lost, leaving. His work will live amongst us,” Chatterjee said.
Acclaimed filmmaker Goutam Ghose, who has been friends with Dasgupta for almost 50 years, told Silverscreen India, “We have lost one of the most important film directors of our country. He has brought a kind of magic realism in his cinematic creations. A great loss for film lovers and personal loss as well.”
National Award-winning Bengali actor Indrani Halder, who debuted in parallel cinema with Dasgupta’s Charachar and Lal Dorja (1997), told Silverscreen India that it had a been a great experience working with him.
Several celebrities and politicians expressed their condolences and paid tributes to Dasgupta on social media platforms.
Taking to Twitter, actor Adil Hussain, Bengali National Award winning actor Sudipta Chakraborty, director Raj Chakraborty and actor Jeet paid their tributes.
Another remarkable film maker passes away. Dear Buddhadebda #BuddhadevDasgupta please rest in peace. We never worked together. But hope we meet again in another realm and at least do a good Adda! And talk about great Cinemas that you made and wanted to make. Deep respect.
— Adil hussain (@_AdilHussain) June 10, 2021
Recipient of numerous National and International honours, legendary filmmaker and renowned poet, #BuddhadebDasgupta has passed away. Sincere condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/8F5N2yXGZT
— Raj chakrabarty (@iamrajchoco) June 10, 2021
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Saddened at the passing away of eminent filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Through his works, he infused lyricism into the language of cinema. His death comes as a great loss for the film fraternity. Condolences to his family, colleagues and admirers.”
Trinamool Congress leader, director and actor Bratya Basu, musician Jeet Ganguli, actor Mainak Ganguly, former cricketer Manoj Tiwary, filmmaker Sanjoy Ghoshdastidar, and several others condoled Dasgupta’s death on social media.
Dasgupta is survived by his wife filmmaker Sohini Dasgupta and two daughters