Dadasaheb Phalke award winner and noted film-maker Tapan Sinha died at a hospital in Kolkata on Thursday after a prolonged illness. Sinha, 84, was suffering from pneumonia and septicaemia, hospital sources said. He is survived by a son. His actress-wife Arundhuti Devi died in 1990.
The veteran film-maker had been in and out of hospital over the past few years.He was admitted to the hospital in December last year.
Tapan Sinha was a master storyteller whose filmography presented an amazing variety of subjects promising different experiences for the audience each time.
Charles Dicken's 'A Tale of Two cities' and its film version promoted the Dada Saheb Phalke awardee to join films and he went on to become an uncompromising film-maker in a class of his own.
An avid follower of American directors like William Wyler and John Ford, he entered the film world as a technician. He completed his journey there with 41 films, 19 of which won National Awards and laurels from international film festivals
of London, Venice, Moscow and Berlin.
His cinematic works were mostly down to earth depictions of the struggles of the common man. His first film Ankush was released in 1954, a year before Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali' and despite making classics like Kabuliwallah, Ek Doctor Ki Mauth, Nirjan Saikate, Haate Bazare and Admi aur Aurat, Sinha is possibly a lesser discussed director compared to his peers.
After completing M.Sc in Physics from Calcutta University, Sinha joined the New Theatres Studio in 1946 as assistant sound recordist.
Two years later he shifted to the Calcutta Movietone Studio and in 1950 he got the opportunity to work in the Pinewood Studio in London. There he got to watch the works of greats like Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica and work in director Harles Cryton's unit as sound engineer.
He used the trip to learn in totality the art of film-making. After returning, he made Ankush (1954) with an elephant belonging to a 'zamindar' as the central character, a whole new idea at the time, but it bombed at the box office.