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What Is Amol Palekar Trying To  Say About Basu Chatterjee?



During his  lifetime  Basu Chatterjee  directed  39 feature  films and 7  television serials including the  immensely popular Rajni.

 He received immense  love  from the audience. His films  such as Piya Ka Ghar(1972), Rajnigandha(1974), Chitchor(1976), Swami(1977),  Khatta Meetha(1978), Shaukeen(1982)  and Chameli Ki Shaadi(1986) made  neat profits. In fact even flops like Uss Paar(a rural love  affair between  two sexually innocent  people)  and Tumhare Liye (on the theme of reincarnation)  didn’t lose money.

 It is   therefore  disheartening  to  have  Amol Palekar  who was one  of Basuda’s  favourite actors  and worked repeatedly with him, make an irresponsible  statement  like this : “He(Basu Chatterjee) kept on making parallel films, without making any commercial compromises and yet made very successful films. He, being one of the pioneers in that, I feel the industry and the media never acknowledged this fact, this contribution of Basu da. I feel really sorry, that what was due to him, was never ever given to him.”

Mr Palekar’s    comments are  fallacious  and misleading  all the way. For one, Basuda  did not make “parallel” films. That was a  term used  for offbeat  non-mainstream cinema  by   Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahane, and  Basu Bhattacharya(maybe Mr Palekar got the  wrong Basu?). Basu Chatterjee made  films that were accessible to every strata  of  society. He was  the most democratic filmmaker I know. And Mr  Palekar should  know that better than anyone , having worked so closely with  the maestro  of  the  middleclass .

 Secondly Mr Palekar says Basuda made  films without “commercial compromises”.  Wrong!  Songs were  a commercial compromise  that  Basuda happily made but insisted on  putting most of the music  in   the background.

Mr Palekar then  goes on to say he feels sorry that the media  never acknowledged Basuda’s contribution and that he  never got  his due.

On the contrary  I feel sorry  for that fact that an actor who worked so  closely with  the  filmmaker has  so little knowledge  of the  filmmaker’s reach and impact. Basuda’s films are loved  by one and all.His  work is as  fresh today as it was when it was made. I suggest  Mr Palekar  return to  Rajanigandha, Chotisi Baat, Chitchor, Safed Jhooth and  the other films he did with Basuda.

He may surprise himself.

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