With Alam Ara (1931) Indian cinema turned talkie and in a short span of just three years Indian cinema left its mark at International cinema winning the prestigious Gold Medal at the 3rd International Exhibition of Cinematic Art at Venice Film Festival in 1934 for the film Seeta. The film was made by Kolkata’s genius writer-director Debaki Bose, who brought a revolution in the technical craft of filmmaking in Indian cinema.
According to film critics and film historians’ Indian cinema has been making mythological films mostly based on the tales of Ramayan but Debaki Bose‘s Seeta (1934) is regarded as one of the best adaptions of the Hindu epic Ramayana. The film was brilliant in many aspects like Debaki Bose selected Indian cinema best artists of its time to play the lead role of Ram and Seeta. While the tall and handsome Prithviraj Kapoor played Rama and the royal and beautiful Durga Khote played Seeta. In short, both suited the character to a perfect T. Besides getting into the skin of the characters both Prithviraj Kapoor and Durga Khote were excellent actors hence they became an instant hit. The movie was a huge success and won International acclaim including Gold Medal at Venice Film Festival in 1934.
Born on 25 November 1898, Bose was the son of a successful advocate but he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. Hence he left the luxury of his house and began living independently. To make a living he became an editor of a weekly journal, Shakti and worked for the Indian freedom struggle. Filmmaker Dhiren Ganguly, better known as DG, spotted Debaki‘s writing potential and gave him a break as a writer in Bengali films.
Soon Bose was selected by New Theatres, where Debaki Bose directed the film Chandidas (1932). The film was a revolution in Indian cinema because Bose introduced background music for the first time in Talkie film. The background music highlighted the content and took the emotions to a high level.
In 1933, Bose introduced playback singing with Puran Bhagat (1933), his first film in Hindi. In 1959 Bose‘s Bengali film Sagar Sangamey won National Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 6th National Film Awards ceremony and also won a nomination for Golden Bear at the 9th Berlin International Film Festival.
Debaki Bose was awarded Padam Shri. He passed away on 17 November 1971 leaving behind a legacy of 50 films and his innovations in Indian cinema.