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Buddhadeb Dasgupta evolved his own style, did not follow any legacy, says Anjan Dutt

Dasgupta had first spotted Dutt in Bengali theatre and was to have launched him in cinema, but a funding problem delayed the project Grihajuddha (1982).

Roushni Sarkar

Actor-filmmaker Anjan Dutt found it difficult to put his thoughts into words while speaking of the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta, who died on Thursday after battling a kidney ailment.

Dutt acted in Dasgupta’s third film Grihajuddha (1982) alongside Goutam Ghose and Mamata Shankar and shared a beautiful association with him over the decades.

“It is difficult to put my thoughts into a few words while speaking of such a big guy with so much experience," said Dutt of the filmmaker who won as many as 12 National awards in his career spanning over four decades. “We shared more than an actor-director relationship. The journey of our bonding goes back to 1980, and we maintained the connection over the years, irrespective of how many films I did with him.

“I learnt from most of these directors from the 1980s I worked with," he continued. "My film school was these directors and Buddhadeb Dasgupta was one of them.”

Anjan Dutt was to have been launched in cinema by Dasgupta after the latter noticed his theatre performances. “However, the funding came late," he said. "By the time he was ready to finance his film, Mrinal Sen had contacted me and we had shot for his Chaalchitra (1981), but [Dasgupta] was the first to notice me.”

Dutt was a student as well as a friend of Dasgupta. “I learnt a lot about East European cinema from him,” he said. “He evolved his own style and did not follow any particular legacy of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak or Bimal Roy. I think that’s what set him apart from his contemporaries."

While Dutt sees himself as a part of populist culture, Dasgupta was far from that. “I admire the alternative art and learn from it, but I belong to a different genre," said the maker of films like The Bong Connection (2006), Chalo Let's Go (2008), Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona (2011) and Dutta Vs Dutta (2012). “He was always making films on outsiders and misfits. I find that very interesting, and relatable as well. He was not looking at middle-class Indians; he was moving away from that. I find that rare as well as a great contribution to Indian cinema.”

Some of Dasgupta’s notable works are Bagh Bahadur (1989), Charachar (1993), Lal Darja (1997), Mondo Meyer Upakhyan (2003), Kalpurush (2005) and Ami, Yasin Ar Amar Madhubala (2007).

Dutt admired the space of agreeing to disagree in his equation with Dasgupta. “Despite belonging to the populist genre, I learnt a lot from him," he said. "He was also open to a lot of things. He liked my films and we used to interact a lot, and he used to listen to my music as well, which had nothing got to do with the work he did. That was the beauty of that time, when people from different streams of ideas had respectful association and learnt from one another.”