Bengali director Aurobindo Mukherjee dead

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Kolkata, Feb 11 (IANS) Eminent Bengali film director Aurobindo Mukherjee, whose comedies and masterpieces of other genres have regaled audiences over the decades, died at his city residence here following old age complications.

Mukherjee, 96, passed away on Wednesday, family sources said. A widower, he left behind two sons and a daughter.

Born on June 18, 1919, in Katihar in Bihar, Mukherjee left medical education midway to embrace the world of films, and his very first directorial effort “Kichukkhon” in 1959 fetched him a nomination for the president’s award.

In a career spanning four decades, Mukherjee directed 26 full length films, three tele-films and one television serial, churning out family entertainers of refined tastes, which excellently portrayed middle class sensibilities and left an evergreen appeal among cinegoers of all generations.

The hilarious tales of a tomboyish Jaya Bhaduri in “Dhonyi Meye” (1971), and a handsome officer (depicted by Ranjit Mullick) harassed by fathers of prospective brides in “Mouchaka” (1974) are rated as cult Bengali films for their perfect comic timings, and presence of novel comic situations.

In 1970, Mukherjee directed ‘Nishipadma” which Shakti Samanta later made into the classic Hindi film “Amar Prem” starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. Mukherjee wrote the screenplay, which got him the Filmfare Award in 1973.

His other popular movies included “Ahban” – screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1961 – “Agnishwar”, “Barnachora”, “Kenram Becharam”, “Notun Jiban”, “Nayikar Bhumkay” and “Mantramugdha”.

He brought out the best and various shades of matinee idol Uttam Kumar in
“Agnishwar”, “Nishipadma”, “Dhonyi Meye” and “Mouchak”.

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