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The rising heroes of Tollywood
By Bengali Tollywood News Network, Mon 23/Nov/2009

When Uttam Kumar passed away more than two decades ago, it seemed that there would be a permanent famine of matinee idols in Bengali cinema. His contemporary Soumitra Chatterjee fits into a completely different slot though he was an equally talented actor. There was Ranjit Mullick just on the threshold of a fruitful career as hero, character actor and sometimes the wrong one in dozens of films. But the lament over the emptiness Uttam Kumar left behind would just not disappear. But we were wrong. Prosenjit consolidated his position as the top hero of Bengali cinema. He is still going strong after around 350 films as hero over the past 27 years. He had competitors though. Chiranjeet, Tapas Paul and Abhishek Chatterjee were on the scene and created their personal slots among the audience. Arjun Chakraborty too, was quite good but his potential remained untapped and he conceded to do character roles. Chiranjeet became the first-ever action hero with his rugged demeanour and terrible dress sense. Tapas Paul, who debuted with Tarun Majumdar’s Dadar Keerti, a huge hit, stayed on with his do-gooder, romantic boy image. Abhishek however, for some inconceivable reason, remained an also-ran despite his dashing good looks and reasonable amount of talent. Tapas Pal is now firmly entrenched in character roles because of his girth and prominent ageing. Abhishek is reduced to playing brother/friend /enemy of the hero in umpteen films.

But who would give competition to Prosenjeet? At one point, it appeared that there was no one. Then, by some strange twist of destiny, Prosenjeet himself opened the closed door. When asked to play the male lead in Shree Venkatesh’s Saathi, he backed out saying he was too old for the role. In came Jeet. Saathi became the hit of the decade and Bengali cinema had a new hero overnight in the name and style of Jeet. Jeet, incidentally, is a natural Sindhi and a Bengali by adoption. Jeet was followed by our own Mithun Chakraborty and two actors of two different genres and generations gave solid competition to the till-then single-headed rule of Prosenjeet. Mithun offered his own brand of action and crusading act, spiked with just that little bit of romance that would draw in the audience. Jeet too came out with a string of hits one after another till his luck gave away and his films began to flop at the box-office. He has come back with a vengeance in Saat Paake Bandha and it was a pleasant surprise to see a much mature, mellow and healthier Jeet. He is now flooded with roles left, right and centre but is being discreet in his pick of roles and films. He makes screen magic with Koel Mulllick and since they decided not to act for around four years, this could have been a reason for his slump.

The scenario changed in the first decade of the new millennium. Together, they do form a formidable wall to meet box-office demands but taken individually, none but Dev, a software engineer from Mumbai, seems to be headed for a long innings. Indrajeet, a model-turned- actor from Assam, had a good break in Raja Sen’s film and a few others. But for some reason, despite his tough looks and wonderful body, the audience does not like him very much. Amitabha Bhattacharya with his darkly handsome looks and brilliant histrionics also, lands up in films that do not do justice to his capability as an actor of talent. His bit role of a drunk who failed in the film industry in Arjun Chakraborty’s directorial film was brilliant. In Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Ami, Yasin O Amaar Madhubala, Amitabha plays a parallel role with Prosenjeet but the film’s release is uncertain and so, one does not get to see his performance. Jisshu Sengupta is a good-looking, somewhat chocolate-faced actor who is very good in the acting department. He has done many films but few as leading hero. But the failure of Riingo’s Love could not give his career the push it deserves. He does wonderful cameos in off-mainstream films like Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear and in Samir Chanda’s Ekti Nodir Galpo. But big success remains elusive till this day.

Haranath Chakraborty, who has directed many blockbusters, says, “The industry will stop growing unless we have new faces. New faces also give directors the opportunity of exploring new characters and new ideas.” Dev, who made a rather nervous debut with I Love You, was the most surprised when the film turned out to be a super-duper hit. All his films after this one, such as Challenge, are big hits and one foresees the possibilities of a matinee idol. He is tall, good-looking though not handsome in the chocolate-boy sense and has a fresh charm about him. He also dances reasonably well and tries to fit into the histrionic demands of his role. He works very hard over each role. His Premer Kahini with Koel raked in around 2.5 crore and is still a big hit. Rahul, who formed a formidable pair with Priyanka in Chirodini Tumi Jey Amaar, the biggest hit in 2008, has a lot of potential as a romantic hero. But after his debut film, he has nothing great to offer in terms of screen presence. In Bhalobasha Zindaba, directed by Reshmi Mitra, he does even look the character of a multi-millionaire heir. His lack of height and body overshadows his acting talent and keeps him confined within a romantic, boy-next-door image. Rahul has graduated from television serials to big screen roles and with some hard work on his body and his image, which is too soft now, should do well in certain roles. His performance, as parallel hero in Kaushik Ganguly’s Jackpot, was very good. Tota Roychoudhury is the only actor who has a wonderfully-toned body and macho looks and is good in action, stunts and dancing. But apart from a few significant films like Mon Amour Shesher Kobita Revisited and Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali, luck with roles, banners and films, is still playing hide-and-seek with him.

The name that comes up after Dev’s is that of Hiron, who is not exactly smashing in terms of looks but is a rage among the young girls in the audience. Even in a mediocre film like Maa Amaar Maa, he has given a credible performance. Others in the queue, who have already done significant films are Parambrato Chatterjee and Ritwik Chakraborty, both from television, followed by Abir Chatterjee who has only one released film Cross Connection and Shoham, the only star after Prosenjeet to make it as hero after having been a child actor for many years. Shoham’s Baji Maat last year was a reasonable hit. Parambrato has had a very good run of off-mainstream films under directors like Gautam Ghose (Kaalbela), Shekhar Das (Kaaler Rakhal) and Koushik Ganguly (Brake Fail). He is very talented, but has wisely decided to switch over to direction because he simply does not have the screen persona to strike it big in commercial Bengali cinema. Ritwik is the only actor who has the rugged looks spilling over with the image of the hero with an identifying element with his audience, has given some sterling performances in films like Sudeshna Roy’s Cross Connection but has still to make his mark. Abir has been penciled in to play the famous detective Byomkesh Bakshi in an Anjan Dutt film so one does not know what the future holds for him. The best looking among all actors is Shaheb Chatterjee, who is also an excellent singer and in great demand at musical concerts. He has just done an important role in Birsa Dasgupta’s 033 and did the parallel hero in Mon Amour Shesher Kobita Revisited but one does not know whether he will make it or not, yet. So, if yesterday was a famine, today there is a virtual flood.

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Comments(11)
sangeeta Said:

Jeet is my one and all favorite.

Sun 21/Mar/2010
Sulagna Saha Said:
Dev is my dream lover.I am his blind fan. I love u Dev.
Thu 10/Jun/2010
Partho Sharma Said:

hi myself partho i am from goa. i wanted prosenjit ald dev's email id please if you know then please write to me..it will be helpful.

Tue 24/Aug/2010
Hausy Said:

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Fri 02/Dec/2011
Seefe Said:

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Sun 04/Dec/2011
Hausy Said:

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Sun 04/Dec/2011
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Mon 05/Dec/2011
fruts Said:

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Mon 05/Dec/2011
Berve Said:

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Tue 06/Dec/2011
Seefe Said:

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Tue 06/Dec/2011
shimul gain Said:
dev the best
Sat 11/Feb/2012
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