Remembering Tarun Bose: The forgotten actor

On his 45th death anniversary today (8 March), we look back at the short career of Tarun Bose.

Sonal Pandya

Actor Tarun Bose, who was often seen onscreen as the villain or in fatherly roles, was plucked for a movie career after Bimal Roy saw him performing a play in Nagpur. Bose had grown up in Nagpur and involved in a number of plays as actor and director. Acting had been Bose’s passion from the beginning, however, he held a position at the Post and Telegraph Department to support his family.

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Coming back to his ‘discovery’ by Roy, Bose was performing in the play ‘Aur Yeh Insaan’ for St Francis School in Nagpur. The proceeds from the play would go to fund a new college. Roy was chosen as chief guest to entice audiences to buy tickets for the play. And initially, Bose was set against having a film personality grace the occasion.

Tarun Bose with Shashikala, Nutan and Sulochana Latkar.

Roy missed his flight and could not make it for the play; it had to be rescheduled for another day. Even that could not delay the inevitable, Roy was impressed with Bose and offered him a film role. It was then at age 29, when Bose made his debut in Apradhi Kaun? (1957), a Roy production directed by Asit Sen, his assistant. Bose played the doctor of a wealthy man, Shreenath (Gajanan Jagirdar) who becomes one of the many suspects in his murder.

Tarun Bose in a still from Apradhi Kaun? (1957)

Within a few years, Bose was a valuable part of the Roy film family, acting as Dilip Kumar’s friend in Madhumati (1958), as Nutan’s foster father in Sujata (1960) and as the sympathetic jailer in Bandini (1963). In later years, those who worked with Roy — actor Sunil Dutt and editor Hrishikesh Mukherjee —looked to cast Bose when they made their own films.

With Sharmila Tagore in Anupama (1966)

Bose played Sunil Dutt’s foil in Mujhe Jeene Do (1963) as the Superintendent of Police and as the conflicted single father in Mukherjee’s Filmfare-nominated Anupama (1966). In both instances, he showed off his range as an actor. With his untimely death at 44, he left behind a short but rich career of diverse films.