Literature is a field where the immortal works of the Bengali Legendary thinkers have influenced the silver screen the most which even has significance after around 50 years of creation of the classic works. Bankim Chandra Chatterji was given the title of Sahitya Samrat (the Monarch of literature) who nurtured Bengali language from its Sanskrit-oriented origin in almost the same manner in which mythologically Lord Mahadeva brought river
Bimal Mitra’s epic literature Saheb Bibi Gulam, directed by Karthik Chatterji became a historically eminent work depicting the Zamindari existing in Kolkata during Colonial rule. Chabi Biswas was the second brother, showed the aristocracy, grantieur with which the feudal lords ruled the state. Uttamkumar was the observer of the events as Bhutnath. Guru Dutt played the same role in the hindi film Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam, 1962, where Meena Kumari played the chotibahu in her own style.
Rabindranath Tagore, the winner of Nobel Prize in literature for Gitanjali, in 1913 had galvanised the firmament of creativity with short stories, poetry, prose, plays, songs and had influenced both Bengali and Hindi films with his revolutionary thinking. His story Kabuliwala was directed by Tapan Sinha in 1957, with Chabi Biswas, the greatest actor of Bengali Silver Screen giving immortal performance of an Afghan father who left his country, came to Kolkata to sell his produce of mewa, pesta and loving a small Bengali girl “mini” who brought him memories of his own daughter back in the country.  Tapan Sinha’s films Khudito Pashan, Atithi, 1965, Satyajit Ray’s cineclassic, Teen Kanya, 1961, Gharebaire, 1984, are based on the immortal prices of work of Tagore.
Bimal Roy, the winner of a number of Filmfare awards for best direction in bollywood films made Kabuliwala with Balraj Sahani in 1961. Although the film could not create the same impact as the Bengali film Kabuliwala, yet the classic literature was well appreciated by the Indian masses. Previously Salil Chowdhury’s Do Beegha Zameen, in 1953 had kept its mark as a Bollywood film having strong storybase and powerful direction.
Sarat Chandra Chatterji, titled Katha Sahitwik, influenced Bollywood films the most as his language was understandable to the people of the grass root level and his observation on social, economic issues of rural
Bimal Roy picturised Biraj Bahu in 1954, another story of Sarat Chandra Chatterji, showing the experiences of rural
Noted author Jorasondho had provided immortal stories based on his experiences as Jailor in a
 My father Chitta Ranjan Chatterji, Ex-chief Public Prosecutor, Bankshall Court, had interviewed Dilip Roy, eminent actor of Bengali films who was his witness, in a case instituted in Bankshall Court, who said there was no second actor in India who could depict the role of Zamindar in the way Chabi Biswas had done in Saheb bibi Golam, Jalsaghar, Dui Purush, Antarikha, etc. He also said when Raj Kapoor tested Chabi Biswas in the role of a drunkard in the film Ekdin Ratre, 1955, his performance in the song “Ei duniyay bhai sabi hoy” sung by Manna Dey, he came down the trolley and saluted Chabi Biswas saying he had not seen an actor in Indian screen like Chabi Biswas. In the hindi version Jagte Raho, 1956, the same character was played by Motilal, but he could not match the level of excellence of Chabi Biswas.
 Kabuliwala received President’s Gold Medal for best film in 1957. Renowned Director Satyajit Ray in his TV interview on DD Bangla had said Chabi Biswas was the greatest actor ever to grace the silver screen and giving him direction was his greatest challenge in the award winning films Jalsaghar, 1958, Devi, 1960, Kanchenjungha, 1962. Chabi Biswas’s performance in the film Manik, 1956, the adaptation of Oliver Twist written by Charles Dickens, in a role of a handicapped grandfather could have brought him Oscar had the film being placed for the nomination.
Article By Souvik Chatterji
Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry, UK.
Master of Law from Case Western Reserve Univerwsity, Cleveland, Ohio,USA.
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