indian cinema heritage foundation

Arundhati Devi

  • Born: 29 April, 1924 (Barishal)
  • Died: 1990
  • Primary Cinema: Bengali
  • Parents: Bibhucharan Guhathakurta
  • Spouse: Prabhat Mukherjee , Tapan Sinha
  • Children: Anindya Sinha

Remembered for her powerful performances in films like Bakul (1954), Chalachal (1956), Panchatapa (1957), Bicharak (1959), Arundhati Devi had a prolific career in Bengali cinema. A multi-talented artiste, she was an actress, producer, director, screenwriter, even occassional music director and art director.

Born on 29 April, 1924 in Barishal, she studied in Shantiniketan and Visva-Bharati, before finishing her studies in Calcutta University. As a child she participated in plays like Dakghar and Tasher Desh which were directed by Rabindranath Tagore himself. Himanghsu Dutta and Sailajaranjan Majumdar trained her in Rabindra Sangeet. She started performing in All India Radio in 1940, and also cut a record. 

She made her acting debut in New Theatres's Mahaprashthaner Pathey (1952). This was followed by roles in Chhele Kaar (1954), Sati (1954) and Bakul (1954). Her role as Sarama in Asit Sen's Chalachal (1956) earned her plaudits, as did her role in Bicharak. The film was remade years later in Hindi as Safar (1970). She acted in a number of Tapan Sinha's films like Kalamati (1958), Kshudita Pashan (1960), Jhinder Bandi (1961), Jatugriha (1964) and Harmonium (1976). Other notable roles came in Manmoyee Girls School (1958), Kichukshan (1959) and the titular character in Bhagini Nivedita (1962).

She produced her husband Prabhat Mukherjee's film Akashpatal (1960). She later turned director herself with Chhuti (1967), Megh O Roudra (1970), Podi Pishir Bormi Baksho (1972) and Deepar Prem (1984). She did trile duty as director, sreenwriter and music director in all these films. She even dabbled in art diection for Deepar Prem. For her later husband Tapan Sinha's Adalat O Ekti Meye (1981) she also took up costume direction. Her directorial debut Chhuti eschewed the generic trappings of the popular romance with a sotry set in a Christian community in Bihar. She won the National Award for Best Film Based on High Literary work for it. As an actress, she was often cast as the 'modern woman' due to the strength of her performances.

The acclaimed actress passed away in 1990.