Tapan Sinha

  • Director, Writer, Music, Producer, Screenplay

Oct 02, 1924  in Kolkatta, West Bengal, India

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Tapan Sinha was one of the most prominent Bengali filmmakers alongside Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak. He had a long and illustrious career that was nearly six decades long. He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke award - the highest honour in cinema in India - in 2006.

Early Life
Tapan was born on 2nd October, 1924 in Kolkata, West Bengal and completed his schooling from Bhagalpur. He graduated in Physics from The University of Patna and later earned an MSc from The University of Calcutta.

Personal Life
Tapan married actress Arundhati Devi and they remained together till her death in 1990. They have a son named Anindya Sinha from their marriage, who is a noted scientist.

Tapan was suffering from pneumonia and septicemia, and passed away on 15th January, 2009.

Movie Career
Tapan began his career as a sound engineer in 1946 with the New Theatres production house in Kolkata. He then went to England to learn filmmaking and worked as a sound engineer in Pinewood Studios for two years. The cinematic adaptation of Tale of Two Cities (1935) inspired him to get into filmmaking.

He directed over 40 films in his career and won critical acclaim for many of them. Ankush (1954) was his debut film and had an elephant as the main character. His next film Uphaar (1955) featured Bengali star Uttam Kumar, but it was only in 1957 that Tapan Sinha got his first award for the film Kabuliwalla. Based on Rabindranath Tagore`s short story, the film bagged the National Award for Best Feature film that year. It was also remade in Hindi by Hemen Gupta. His next film Louho Kapat (1957) also earned a National Award for the Best Feature Film in the year. Kshudita Pashan (1960), which was again based on a short story by Rabindranath Tagore, won the National Award for the Second Best Bengali Feature Film in the year.

Jhinder Bandi (1961) was one of Tapan`s most commercially successful films. It starred Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee together for the first time. It was based on a story by the writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Several of Tapan`s film in the late 1960s like Atithi, Hatey Bazarey and Apanjan were highly acclaimed and also received National Awards. Ekhani was another film that earned a National Award for Best Screenplay.

Sagina Mahato was also one of his major films that starred Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu in the lead role. It was based on the true story of the labor movement of 1942-43. His Golpo Holo Satyi was later remade into Bawarchi by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Tapan also directed a few Hindi films. Even though his first Hindi film Zindagi Zindagi couldn`t create an impact, his Safed Haathi was well appreciated and won the National Award for Best Children`s Film. He then made a couple of Hindi telefilms like Admi Aur Aurat and Didi. However, his most acclaimed Hindi film has to be the Pankaj Kapur starrer Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1991). In the film based on a story by Rampada Choudhury, a doctor invents a vaccine for leprosy, but he is ostracized by the whole doctor community for it. The film won Tapan the National Award for Best Direction, as well as the Second Best Feature Film. He then worked on a few documentaries, one of which was based on the scientist Jagdish Bose. He also directed Daughter of this Century, a 5 part feature film, that showed how attitude towards women haven`t changed over a century.

Tapan`s final film Anokha Moti remained incomplete.