Article Bengali

Uttam and Suchitra explored the many splendours of love – Valentine's Day special

The favourite on-screen couple of the Bengali film industry not only created some memorable romantic moments but also broke many taboos around romance.

Harano Sur (1957)

Roushni Sarkar

The on-screen pairing of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen was essentially romantic, but also pioneering for many reasons. Despite numerous other on-screen pairs over the decades in Bengali cinema, the popularity and importance of Uttam-Suchitra has remained unabated.

Both artistes not only created some of the more memorable romantic moments on screen, but also broke many taboos around romance and went on to create new trends.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the pair was that while each shone brightly in their individual space, together they pronounced the deepest emotions of love and its complexities, whether it was Uttam Kumar's refusal as Arun to open his eyes after regaining his vision until Sagarika (Sen) appears before him in Agragami’s Sagarika (1956) or when Anjana (Sen) goes into the throes of agony as the love of her life Dhiman (Uttam Kumar) dies in Shilpi (1956). In joy or in pain, audiences could see the couple enacting the emotions they felt in real life.

Indrani (1958)

The couple's glorious journey began with Nirmal Dey’s romantic comedy Sharey Chuattar in 1953. The film ran for 63 weeks in the theatres and ushered a new era in Bengali cinema.

Uttam Kumar’s honest screen presence, charm and raw Bengaliness against the magnetic and bold Sen was perhaps a combination that the Bengali film industry needed to change its course forever.

Be it as Krishnendu and Rina Brown from different social backgrounds in Saptapadi (1961), or the ill-fated widow trying to build a new relationship against the odds of society in Agni Pareeksha (1954), the pair dared to tell unusual love stories of two star-crossed lovers.

Saptapadi (1961)

Coming back to the ideal ambience where the hero and heroine are seen romancing at idle, the songs from different films featuring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen played a definite role in their popularity.

Romancing on a moonlit night wearing garlands in 'Tumi Je Amar Ogo Tumi Je Amar' in Harano Sur (1957) or pronouncing love for each other while on a journey on a motorbike with 'E Poth Jodi Na Sesh Hoy' in Saptapadi (1961) are all iconic screen moments of Bengali cinema that still make every hopeless romantic heart skip a beat and heave a sigh.