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PARIVAR (1956), APRADHI KAUN (1957) - The two films directed by the director turned actor-comedian Asit Sen - EXCLUSIVE By Bobby Sing
12 Jan, 2021 | Articles on Cinema / Just In

The worldwide web is certainly a good source of information but at the same time it isn’t a completely reliable source with a lot of misinformation also posted by the users themselves contradicting the facts. Often such is the case when there are two people of the same name in the same field and the later generations mix-up the body of work of both, creating a misconception.
 
That’s exactly the case with The Two ASIT SENs in Hindi Cinema, who have been wrongly quoted or misquoted in many sites and articles regarding two films in particular namely PARIVAR (1956) and APRADHI KAUN? (1957). 

In order to clear the doubt with facts and references, I wrote an article for THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL Newspaper (Mumbai Edition), that got published on 10th January 2021. The published article was an edited version of the text shared below. 
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Made under the banner of Bimal Roy productions, PARIVAR and APRADHI KAUN? were two of the first few films produced by Bimal Roy that were directed by one of his assistants, Asit Sen. Here, the name of the director often creates confusion for many, even when it has been clearly stated in books, interviews and journals of the gone era, and online posts by many veterans and knowledgeable film connoisseurs. However, since multiple sites on the internet keep quoting, simply borrowing it from other portals without confirming the fact, the wrong information keeps getting repeated by both young and the old creating a ripple effect.
 
But before explaining the confusion, would like to briefly talk about the two films mentioned above that surely are worth recommending due to their individual merits.
 
Released towards the end of 1956, PARIVAR is a typical, light-hearted family drama like the ones famous in that specific era coming from Gemini, AVM, Prasad and other South production houses. Its exclusivity remains in its positive message and a likable execution that never becomes heavy focusing on a joint family. The story revolves around a trick played by the ladies of the house to teach their men a lesson about the importance and contribution of women in a joint family. Featuring Durga Khote, Bipin Gupta, Usha Kiron, Jairaj, Sajjan, Kumud, Anwar, Dhumal, Agha and more, it has a guest appearance by Kishore Kumar too in an entertaining song “Yaar Tum Shaadi Mat Karna”. The film is based on the story by Panchu Mukherji with music by Salil Choudhury and lyrics by Shailendra
Parivar Apradhi Kaun Asit Sen 
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Exploring a completely different or contrasting genre, the 1957 film APRADHI KAUN? is a who-dun-it murder mystery wherein a detective solves the case of a murder like in a Hercule Poirot-Agatha Christie novel. It is based on a Bengali novel KAALO CHHAYA by author Premendra Mitra, who also directed a Bengali film made on the subject with the same title. Featuring Abhi Battacharya, Mala Sinha, Jagirdar, Dhumal, Murad and more, the Hindi version was also the debut film of Tarun Bose and was supposed to be titled KAALI CHHAYA as mentioned by Shilpi Bose (daughter of Tarun Bose) in her blog. Though it has an average soundtrack, the few songs composed by Salil Chowdhury and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, thankfully do not hamper its suspenseful pace. As a result it largely remains a satisfying murder mystery, keeping in mind the era it was made.
 
Coming to the confusion in the director’s name, both PARIVAR and APRADHI KAUN? have actually been directed by the famous, heavy-built actor Asit Sen, well-known for his comic roles in many popular movies. So these two films have no relation with the other renowned director (with the same name) Asit Sen, fondly remembered for his memorable films MAMTA (1966), ANOKHI RAAT (1968), KHAMOSHI (1969), SAFAR (1970) and more. Strangely, even the most popular and reputed portals online do not differentiate in their works and consider only one Asit Sen (the latter one) as the director of all the above-mentioned films.  

Focusing on the comedian Asit Sen in particular, here we have a rare instance of a director choosing to be an actor in the later part of his career, who at present is only remembered as a comedian for his unique dialogue delivery, performing the lines at a funny slow pace. Sen became Bimal Roy’s assistant in Kolkatta even before shifting to Bombay with him; and after a decade of assisting and directing two films for his mentor, he decided to prefer doing small roles in films instead of continuing direction. Luckily, the audience unanimously appreciated and loved his appearances as an entertaining comedian.

Quoting the references supporting the fact about the actual director of the two specific films, would like to begin with the interview of Asit Sen published in the reputed SCREEN newsmagazine in October 1962. The interview is from the period when he had completely adapted acting as a career post directing two movies for Bimal Roy and had recently tasted big success for his role as a detective in BEES SAAL BAAD. Interestingly, it also shares how his son was quite disturbed coming back from school one day as friends were teasing calling him “Jasoos Ka Bacha” in the class mimicking Sen’s portrayal of Gopichand Jasoos in the hit film.
 


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The article titled “Just a Problem Dad” (as shown in the picture) begins with:
“Step by step, with patient and determined labour, he had climbed up to become a director from a fourth directorial assistant – holding the clap board before the camera at the start of every new set, keeping notes of the “takes” to be printed and those to be scrapped, arriving on the sets before anyone else came and leaving it after everyone else had left. Then thirteen years as assistant to Bimal Roy, for whom he later directed Parivar and Apradhi Kaun. 

As assistant director and later even as director, he had wished to act, to step into the camera field. This wish, too, had been fulfilled. And he had played many types of roles – long, short, comic, serious, important, supporting characters”.

So the creative personality, who actually began as a director, willfully decided to be a comic-actor throughout his career; and the world today knows him exactly like that, forgetting his directorial ventures.

But interestingly, the 1962 article also ends with this enlightening note: 
“At studios and filmland gatherings, people approach Asit Sen in all seriousness – no antics, no light talk. To his friends in the industry, he is no comedian. Many know him as a man who loves peace and when out of the camera field, always withdraws to a quiet corner on the sets.”
 
Sharing more references, his daughter Roopa Gupta shared the info about the two films directed by Asit Sen in her interview published in G Magazine post her father's demise in the end of 1993. This was a family interview of his two sons and daughter, taken in their residence ‘Van Vihar’, wherein they shared about their individual loving relationship with their father, whom industry people fondly called as Dada. Here she also informs how Sen started as a photographer, whose shop closed down during World War II and then he met Bimal Roy, who was looking for a Bengali who knew Hindi well. That is how he began his journey in cinema beginning as assistant to Bimal Roy.



The other reference we get in the book on comic performers titled EENA MEENA DEEKA – The Story of Hindi Film Comedy (English) by Sanjit Narwekar, in which he also clearly points towards how the two films are wrongly credited to the other Asit Sen since long (as shared in the picture below). 


 
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The next reference we find in the book BIMAL ROY (Hindi) by the maestro’s daughter Rinki Roy Bhattacharya. The picture shared below is from the chapter of the book written by Basu Bhattacharya.


 
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The reference is also there in a very interesting and valuable book titled FORGOTTEN ARTISTS OF EARLY CINEMA and The Same Name Confusion written by Arunkumar Deshmukh and Prof. Surjit Singh. 

Also just a couple of years back, Shailendra’s son Dinesh Shankar Shailendra posted this very clear declaration in his Facebook profile on 18th September – the death anniversary of Asit Sen - one of the legendary creative personalities of our Hindi cinema. Shailendra had written the lyrics of Asit Sen’s first directorial venture PARIVAR.


 
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Reading the above references widely available in books and journals, its really strange that this misconception has been continuing since so long and is still being quoted wrongly by many in both print and the online medium.
 
On the other hand, it was so overwhelming to see the response of veterans of the industry to the article published in The Free Press Journal (Mumbai) appreciating the effort made, sharing their personal experiences/relations with Asit Sen in messages and comments. But above all, it was great talking to Sujit Sen, son of Asit Sen, who is presently the part of Hindi film industry working as a renowned technician. Shared below is the comment posted by Sujit Sen on my FB wall in resonse to the article remembering his father.

Sujit Sen response to the article on Asit Sent by Bobby Sing

Hope this write-up helps in rectifying all the false mentions online, giving the deserving credit to the director turned actor loved by one and all.

Bobby Sing (Harpreet)
bobbytalkscinema.com 
(12th January 2021)
 
NOTE : The edited form of this article was first published in THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL Newspaper (Mumbai Edition) on 10th January 2021 with the title “Tracing Asit Sen’s Directorial Footsteps” at the following link:

Hope the readers have a good time visiting the past, recoganizing the actual director of the two movies PARIVAR and APRADHI KAUN. 
 
Cheers!

Note : A big thanks to Vivek Kumar and Iqbal Rizvi for helping in getting the published material as a great contribution to the article.

Tags : PARIVAR and APRADHI KAUN directed by actor-comedian Asit Sen EXCLUSIVE By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, The Confusion between the two Asit Sens, Rare Exclusive Articles by Bobby Sing.
12 Jan 2021 / Comment ( 0 )
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