indian cinema heritage foundation

Tarun Bose

  • Born: 14 September, 1928 (Kolkata)
  • Died: 8 March, 1972

Character actor Tarun Bose, known for acting sans theatrics, featured in several films in the 1960s and 1970s. Making his debut with Apradhi Kaun? (1957), he featured in films such as Madhumati (1958), Sujata (1959), Usne Kaha Tha (1960), Shama (1961), Begaana (1963), Bandini (1963), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Kohra (1964), Akashdeep (1965), Faraar (1965), Gumnaam (1965), Oonche Log (1965), and Devar (1966). Acting in approximately 40 films in the course of his career, he was known for playing middleclass professional figures onscreen, such as doctors, judges and lawyers. His instinctive sense of dramatic execution, seen in his eye and facial gestures as well as his dialogue delivery, ensured him a permanent space in the films of makers such as Bimal Roy, Biren Naug, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Moni Bhattacharjee.

Born in Calcutta on 14 September 1928, he grew up in Nagpur, where he studied at St. Francis High School. His introduction to performing started early; in his teens he acted in local plays, gaining experience on stage. At the age of 15, he auditioned for All India Radio, Nagpur, and went on to work in radio plays. On completing his education, he took up employment with the Post and Telegraph Department, simultaneously pursuing his passion for acting on the side. 

In 1957, Tarun Bose made his debut in films with Asit Sen’s Apradhi Kaun? The Mala Sinha and Abhi Bhattacharya starrer told the story of a wealthy man, suspected of murder, who is killed before he can be arrested. Everyone in his household is under suspicion. A private investigator looks into the case and finds himself falling in love with one of the suspects. Bose played a doctor in the film. He made a meaningful impact with a portrayal that did not betray any shortcomings of a newcomer.

Featuring in Bimal Roy’s Sujata, he was part of the cast comprising Nutan, Sunil Dutt and Sulochana Latkar. The film was based on a Bengali short story of the same name by writer Subodh Ghosh, which explored the situation of caste in India. Bose played the character Upendranath Chowdhury in film, which was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. 

Bose won attention for his intense performances in certain films. He played Madhusudan Sharma/ Madanlal in Gumnaan, the thriller film directed by Raja Nawathe, starring Manoj Kumar, Nanda, Pran, Helen and Mehmood. In Anupama (1966), he played Mohan Sharma, a successful businessman in Bombay, who marries Aruna (Surekha Pandit) late in life, and is leading a happy married life, when, unfortunately, his wife dies during childbirth, leaving behind a young daughter, Uma (Sharmila Tagore), whom he cannot bear to see, except when he is drunk. 

Bose also had strong roles in Devar, Mujhe Jeene Do, and Aan Milo Sajna (1970) among other films in the 60s and early 70s. In Oonche Log, he exhibited the whimsicality of a desperate killer, while adding conviction and grace to his role as the Police Superintendent in Mujhe Jeene Do. In the film, director Moni Bhattacharjee revealed a sterner side of the actor in confrontation scenes with dacoit Jarnail Singh played by Sunil Dutt. His voluble laughter in the suspense thriller Kohra added an extra chilling factor to the film, giving audiences goosebumps.  

As an actor, he admirably resisted the temptation to hog the camera and instead shared screen space with a sense of responsibility, which contributed to the director’s vision of the story. He was clearly deserving of more meaty roles to do justice to his natural talent. Other films he acted in include Love in Tokyo (1966), Pyar Mohabbat (1966), Chhoti Si Mulaqat (1967), Jaal (1967), Anokhi Raat (1968), Jyoti (1969), Dharti Kahe Pukarke (1969), Insaaf Ka Mandir (1969), Satyakam (1969), Ganwaar (1970), Gunah Aur Kanoon (1970), Aan Milo Sajna (1970), and Jeevan Sangram (1974). 

He acted alongside leading actors such as Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra, Manoj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Balraj Sahni and Amitabh Bachchan, in films directed by filmmakers such as Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Satyen Bose, Asit Sen, and Dulal Guha. A refined artist, he was known for his cultured taste and pleasing demeanour; a gentleman. He was also known to be a good friend of actors Raj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, and Hemant Kumar.

Tarun Bose passed away on 8 March, 1972. He was 44. 


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Image Credits: Tarun Bose and the World of Cinema.

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