Apanjan

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Apanjan
Directed by Tapan Sinha
Produced by R. K. Kapoor
Starring Chhaya Devi
Swaroop Dutta
Samit Bhanja
Music by Tapan Sinha
Cinematography Bimal Mukherjee
Edited by Subodh Roy
Release date
1968
Running time
135 minutes
Country India
Language Bengali

Apanjan (also Apan Jan; roughly translated in English as "One's own people") is a 1968 Bengali film directed by Tapan Sinha. Set against the backdrop of the political violence that rocked India, and West Bengal in particular, in the late 1960s, it tells the story of an aged widow in a village who goes to Calcutta to stay with relatives, but faces only exploitation. She moves to a slum, and finds her "own people" in a group of educated, unemployed youth, who are caught up inexorably in the prevalent violence. The film was a commercial success, and also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali,[1] as well as several BFJA Awards.[2] In 1971, it was re-made in Hindi as Mere Apne, directed by Gulzar.

Plot[edit]

Anandamoyee (Chhaya Devi) is a childless widow in a Bengal village. One day a man turns up, claiming to be her nephew. He takes her to live with him and his family in Calcutta. In the city, she experiences something akin to culture shock, as she encounters children begging on the streets and day-to-day violence. She finds the idea of women working at office jobs very strange, and even wearing any kind of footwear is new for her. The couple with whom she lives want her to look after their child, which she does gladly since they are her "own people". However, eventually she realises that she is being exploited as an unpaid nanny. She moves out to a downbeat area of the city, to look after two street children. They are part of the 'family' of Robi (Swaroop Dutta), the leader of a gang of educated young men who are active participants in the street violence that engulfs the city. With these outsiders, Anandamoyee feels a sort of kinship, and even a sense of being in a family, which she never enjoyed with her actor husband. Robi's gang is always at daggers drawn with a rival gang led by Chheno (Samit Bhanja). The two gangs are enlisted by cynical politicians, to serve their own ends. The gang war continues, albeit with an ostensibly political colour, reaching a melodramatic climax, with a tragic resolution.

Cast[edit]

Crew[edit]

  • Direction - Tapan Sinha
  • Production - R. K. Kapoor
  • Music - Tapan Sinha
  • Cinematography - Bimal Mukherjee
  • Editing - Subodh Roy

Reception[edit]

Apanjan was the first film to deal with contemporary political violence and urban angst in West Bengal, and indeed India. It was a good two years ahead of better known films that dealt with urban issues, such as Satyajit Ray's Pratidwandi and Mrinal Sen's Interview. When it was released in 1968, it struck a chord with urban audiences, and was a commercial success. It gave a boost to the careers of Swaroop Dutta and Samit Bhanja, catapulting the latter to stardom. The use of Rabindrasangeet in the film was unusual, and added to its popularity with middle-class audiences.

Critically, too, the film was well received at the time. It dominated the 1969 BFJA Awards, besides winning the National Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali.

Three years later, Tapan Sinha returned to the problems faced by urban youth in Ekhoni, which was also well received.

Preservation[edit]

Apanjan has been restored and digitised by the National Film Archives of India. [3]

Remake[edit]

In 1971, Gulzar made his directorial debut with Mere Apne, which was almost a frame by frame remake of Apanjan. It starred Meena Kumari in the lead role, and went on to become a hit.[4] A recent (2012) news item talks about a proposed remake of Mere Apne, but does not mention that Apanjan was the original.[5]

Awards[edit]

16th National Film Awards[1]

Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards (1969)[2]

  • Best Indian film (jointly with 9 others)
  • Best Director - Tapan Sinha
  • Best Screenplay - Tapan Sinha
  • Best Actor In a Supporting Role - Samit Bhanja
  • Best Cinematography (Black And White) - Bimal Mukherjee
  • Best Editing - Subodh Roy
  • Best Audiography - Anil Talukdar and Atul Chatterjee

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "16th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 2. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "BFJA Awards (1969)". 
  3. ^ "Digitized and Restored Films List" (PDF). nfai.gov.in. National Film Archives of India. Retrieved 21 June 2018. 
  4. ^ Jha, Subhash K. (2005). The Essential Guide to Bollywood. Lustre Press. p. 175. ISBN 8174363785. 
  5. ^ "Now, a remake of Gulzar's Mere Apne". The Times of India. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Apanjan on IMDb