Chitchor, Khatta Meetha and Piya Ka Ghar (Photo credit: Twitter)
It’s just June and 2020 has already snatched so much from us that it’s difficult to imagine. Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Wajid Khan and now Basu Chatterjee. The legendary director passed away in his sleep. He was 90 years old. The unique ability of Chatterjee to spin a tale around middle-class woes and lives is something everyone would love to possess. His understanding of the common man’s love, life, worries and issues make for such a feel-good watch that you can watch them on loop. His characters were real. So you wouldn’t find actresses drowned in dollops of makeup to look pretty but be their natural self- someone you will meet at train stations or buses. That’s the connection you make immediately when you watch the movies. Basu Chatterjee Passes Away; Ashoke Pandit Confirms the Sad News of the Legendary Filmmaker
Chatterjee had said in an interview, “I belonged to a middle-class family. That’s the life I know. That’s why there was nothing larger-than-life about my films.” And he did that by adding a pinch of humour here and there. Now when he is gone, we are only left with his legacy of outstanding movies on middle-class tales and we would like to list 10 of them for your viewing.
Piya Ka Ghar (1972)
A girl marries into a family who lives in a city…correction, the entire joint family lives together in a small house and how that puts a strain on their new relationship. Mumbai is the city in question and you know how cramped living spaces can be when you have to survive in an expensive city. The lack of privacy for a newly-wed couple forms the crux of the film.
A woman confused about her feelings about her current and ex-boyfriend – can you imagine a movie like that which explored the female psyche? Almost impossible because nobody had the vision like Basu Chatterjee to present raw emotions on the big screen. Women are humans too!
A shabby remake like Mein Prem Ki Deewani Hoon shouldn’t mire the innocent love story in Chitchor. Mistaken identity and a lot of gooey romance, Chitchor
Choti Si Baat (1976)
We have watched so many Hollywood movies on a girl getting a makeover to get the man of her dreams. Basu Chatterjee did the opposite. A man falls for a woman but never approaches her for the fear of being rejected. Gets guidance from a confident man, changes his ways, and wins her over. Sweet!
Another very real story of a girl being married off by her family to a boy they think is right for her and not the one who has her heart. The struggle to adjust with the surroundings is beautifully brought out by Basu Chatterjee. Also, the helpful husband is a dream come true in many such marriages.
Khatta Meetha (1978)
This is by far the favourite Basu Chatterjee film for us. Two elderly people try to end their loneliness by getting married, which means both their families have to live with each other. A lot of chaos ensues. And that song ‘Thoda hai thode ki zaroorat hai‘…you can be happy with just what you have.
Remember Rimjhim gire saawan? Basu Chatterjee had revealed in an interview that they were lucky that it rained all day, that day! A romantic rain song is always a fan favourite.
Baton Baton Mein (1979)
Commitment issues dealt delicately and sincerely. The man is in love but doesn’t want to get married just yet. But then mothers of girls of marriageable age are always in a rush. It’s the simplicity of the narrative which catches your eye more than who is acting in it.
Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986)
A feisty, unapologetic, loud lead actress – how often have you seen that? These are the girls your mothers ask you not to befriend lest you get influenced by them and start behaving against the societal rules for women. A far smarter heroine than the hero and we have only Chatterjee to credit for that!
Kamla Ki Maut (1989)
Basu Chatterjee’s style of storytelling saw such a massive turn with this movie that it left everyone dizzy. Addressing some very poignant issues from pre-marital sex to fawning over teachers, Kamla Ki Maut is unlike the director’s free-wheeling feel-good movies and yet so real.