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Uttam Kumar: A Life in Cinema by film scholar Sayandeb Chowdhury to be launched next month


The book sheds light on the matinee idol's journey and discusses the relevance of his popular works.

Roushni Sarkar

Author and film scholar Sayandeb Chowdhury has announced the release of his book Uttam Kumar: A Life in Cinema on Twitter.

Published by Bloomsbury Academic, the volume will be launched next month.

The book delves into the journey of the celebrated matinee idol, who played a significant part in redefining popular cinema in post-partition Bengal. Chowdhury’s book explains how the Mahanayak contributed to cinema with his brand of socially relevant and entertaining films as well as anchored the entire Bengali film industry with a string of box office hits.

The Bengali middle class, who was battling the trauma of migration, unemployment and massive degradation of values in the aftermath of partition, saw their dreams as well as crises reflected on the big screen while watching Uttam Kumar's films. The versatile actor broke away from the tradition of stylistic performances, opting to realistically represent characters that were easy to relate to for the Bengali middle-class audience.

Chowdhury, who currently teaches at the School of Letters at Ambedkar University Delhi and is also a doctoral fellow in the Department of Film Studies at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, is all set to offer a comprehensive look at the star’s significant works and discuss their relevance in the evolution of Bengali cinema.

Chowdhury’s interests are colonial and postcolonial visual modernism, cinema and photography studies, adaptation studies and city studies. His essays have published in various reputed journals including Film International, Journal of South Asian History and Culture, South Asia Review, European Journal of English Studies, and the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW).