Basanta Choudhury – Bengali actor who played Sadhana’s hero in Bimal Roy’s ‘Parakh’
Basanta Choudhury (1928 – 2000), also known as Basanta Chowdhury and Vasant Choudhary/ Vasanta Chowdhuri was a Bengali film actor of classic era who worked with prominent filmmakers like Bimal Roy, Rajen Tarafdar, Asit Sen etc. Bollywood cinegoers remember him as male protagonist in Bimal Roy’s classic Parakh. He predominantly worked in Bengali films playing lead roles. Ek Doctor Ki Maut, Parakh etc are some of his Bollywood films. This sophisticated actor is best remembered for his roles – Andhare Alo, Megh Kalo, Deep Jweley Jai, Abhaya O Srikanta, Raja Rammohan, Diba Ratrir Kabya, Devi Chowdhurani, Sakhabela etc in Bengali cinema.
Basanta Choudhury was born into an affluent family in Howrah in 1928. His childhood days were spent in Nagpur. Basanta later shifted to Kolkata, followed by Tollygunge. 1952 film, Mahaprasthaner Pathe directed by Kartik Chattopadhay marked his screen debut in a supporting role. He was also involved with amateur theater and radio. Initially played character roles on screen, he later moved to lead roles. He has appeared in around 60 movies, playing hero, villain and character roles. He is considered as one of the most handsome heroes of Bengali screen.
Basanta Choudhury – Some interesting and less-known facts
1. Basanta Choudhury’s debut Bollywood film, Parakh (1960) was scripted by Salil Choudhury, who composed its music as well.
2. He was a renowned numismatist who owned a big collection of Kashmiri and Persian shawls. Director Satyajit Ray borrowed many of them for his movies. Ray was a great admirer of his shawls too.
3. He used to collect rare coins, paper currency, Lord Ganesha idols etc.
4. He won B.F.J.A award for best actor award for Raja Rammohan.
5. He had been the Sheriff of Kolkata, and also served as Chairman of Nandan-West Bengal Film Centre in Kolkata.
6. Deep Jwele Jaai is one of his memorable roles in Bengali cinema. When this film was remade to Hindi as Khamoshi, Rajesh Khanna replaced his lead role.
7. While Satyajit Ray was shooting for Aparajito, he was in search of a new face to portray Leela and spotted Alaka Chakraborty who was in a relationship with Basanta then. But the actor interfered and denied her the role, and took her away from film sets as he didn’t want her to act in films.