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Chidananda Das Gupta, (family name sometimes spelled 'Dashgupta' and 'Dasgupta') ( ), is a Bengali Indianmarker filmmaker, a leading film critic, a film historian and one of the founders of Calcutta Film Society with Satyajit Ray in 1947. He lives and works in Calcuttamarker and Santiniketanmarker.

Early life

Son of Shantilata and Manmathanath Dasgupta, a Brahmo missionary and social worker, he was born at Shillongmarker, Assammarker, Indiamarker in 1921. In 1944 he married, Supriya Das, a daughter of Brahmananda Dashgupta, brother of poet Jibanananda Das. His daughter Aparna Sen is a well known actress and filmmaker. Actress Konkona Sen Sharma is his granddaughter.

Chidananda had a flick with politics during the anti-British Quit India movement days of 1940s. This forced him on to jobs ‚Äď teaching at St. Columba‚Äôs College, Hazaribagh, personal assistant to Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcuttamarker, teaching at City College, Calcutta, journalism, and then a plush job in advertising with Imperial Tobacco. It was a varied life.

An elderly man, Chidananda is physically impaired now. He uses wheel chair to move. His voice is barely audible. However he remains active. He always dresses up in trademark cream kurta-pyjama. His white stubble around the cheeks well passes for a French beard. It has been said that Chidananda Das Gupta is a picture of 'restraint' and 'dignity'.

The film society movement

In 1947, Chidananda, along with Satyajit Ray and Hari Sadhan Dasgupta, founded the Calcutta Film Society. The opportunity to see the best of world cinema had a decisive impact on Ray as well as others like Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak.

In 1959, the Federation of Film Societies of India was set up at the initiative of Dasgupta, Satyajit Ray, Mrs. Vijaya Mulay, Mrs. Ammu Swaminathan, Robert Hawkins, Abul Hassan and A. Roychowdhury. The Federation has played a major role in the spread of the film society movement in India.

Writing and Translations

Chidananda is well known for his essays and translations of Rabindranath Thakur, Manik Bandopadhyay and Jibanananda Das. He had a close association with poet Jibanananda Das during the latter's lifetime which gave him unique insights into the poetry of Jibanananda Das that is often alleged to be obscure and unintelligible.

The most famous poem of Bengali literature, namely, Banalata Sen by poet Jibanananda Das has been rendered into English by Chidananda. It reads as follows:
Banalata Sen
For aeons have I roamed the roads of the earth.

From the seas of Ceylon to the straits of Malaya

I have journeyed, alone, in the enduring night,

And down the dark corridor of time I have walked

Through mist of Bimbisara, Asoka, darker Vidarbha.

Round my weary soul the angry waves still roar;

My only peace I knew with Banalata Sen of Natore.

Her hair was dark as night in Vidisha;

Her face the sculpture of Sravasti.

I saw her, as a sailor after the storm

Rudderless in the sea, spies of a sudden

The grass-green heart of the leafy island.

‚ÄėWhere were you so long?' she asked, and more

With her bird's-nest eyes, Banalata Sen of Natore.

As the footfall of dew comes evening;

The raven wipes the smell of warm sun

From its wings; the world's noises die.

And in the light of fireflies the manuscript

Prepares to weave the fables of night;

Every bird is home, every river reached the ocean.

Darkness remains; and time for Banalata Sen.

Writing about cinema

Chidananda Das Gupta is best known as a film historian and film critic. He has written over 2000 articles on cinema in various periodicals. In 1957 he, along with Ray and others, started the Indian Film Quarterly. His contributions to the British film magazine Sight and Sound have permanent archival value. He has studied closely the work of his friend Satyajit Ray, and his 1980 book The Cinema of Satyajit Ray remains one of the definitive works on Ray.


In 2004 Chidananada Das Gupta was honoured at the Osian Film Festival, 2004, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for writing on cinema.


Chidananda directed as many as seven films, namely The Stuff Of Steel (1969), The Dance of Shiva (1968), Portrait of a City ((1961), Amodini (1994), Zaroorat Ki Purti (1979), Rakhto (1973) and Bilet Pherat (1972) Of these he composed only two. These are Bilet Pherat and Amodini, the latter starring both his daughter Aparna Sen and his granddaughter Konkona Sen Sharma.

Amodini was made in 1996. It was a one hour forty five minutes family comedy. Casting included Aparna Sen, Rachana Banerjee, Anusree Das and Piyush Ganguly, among others. A satirical Indian fairy tale, it is set in the perspective of 18th century, when traditional social customs were strictly enforced and complied. The storyline is about the exploits of a pretty and spoiled daughter of a rajah (king) who is forced to become the bride of her 15-year-old Brahmin houseboy after the man she was supposed to marry jilts her on her wedding day. If she does not marry before sunset, something horrible will happen to her; therefore she must marry the servant boy. After the ceremony, the boy is exiled and the union remains unconsummated. Years pass and tragedy befalls the rajah who loses all his wealth. Suddenly the servant boy returns, only he is no longer a servant. Now he has become wealthy and powerful enough to take the rajah's position from him. Even though by then he has married another, his former bride begs him to take her in.


  • Das Ggupta, Chidananda : Selected Poems - Jibanananda Das, 2006, Penguin Books, New Delhi.
  • Talking about Films :
  • The Painted Face : Studies in India's popular Cinemas
  • The Cinema of Satyajit Ray :
  • Satyajit Ray : An anthology of statements on Ray and by Ray : edited by Chidananda Das Ggupta :
  • Unpopular Cinema :


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