Tumi amake chhere jabena kothhao……
(You’ll not leave me and go anywhere else… You cannot! )
My translation of the above Bengali line is bad. Actually Madam Sen excelled in one very naughty tone of talking, which cannot be explained in English. The tone is called “obhimaan’ in Bengali. And ‘obhimaan’ doesn’t have an English term. It is a thoroughly emotional mix of hurt laced with bit of anger only towards someone you love deeply, and its expression is mostly non-verbal. “Obhimaan” can create hermits, loners, break relationships, make one take decisions, walk away from relationships, endanger lives.
Its a powerful word!
In Bengali, it becomes a heavier, more emotional meaning. Much more internalized. Puts up walls, and prevents outward expression.
Only those who’ve heard this tone sometimes in their lives, will know what I am talking about. I am pretty sure every religion, language, every woman of the world used this tone at least once with her loved ones, but they don’t know the word. Here it is. Say it after me. It is called “O-BHI-MAAN” . Use it just before you decide to become sarcastic with your man. .. It works wonders. Just 3 syllables. Shouldn’t be tough.
Suchitra Sen excelled in this emotion. On screen I mean. She poured a few drops of extra honey to her voice when she asked her man not to leave her and said almost inaudibly, with a finality . “Tumi jabena… Aaj jeona… “ This final concoction reverberated and appeared to resonate right out of her soul, and NO MAN, not even the all powerful Uttam Kumar had the courage to say “No’ to her face after that.
I too would have melted if I was not sitting on a chair in a movie hall, and I had been a man.
I am not qualified enough to talk about her achievements and goals. There are a lot of people who can write about that. I can just give you one small anecdote.
I once held a Filmfare Award in my hand (The Oscars of Bollywood).
The pretty black lady, the most coveted prize in Indian Film Industry. No. Don’t mistake me. I didn’t receive it. I am in no way connected to Bollywood film industry (yet :P). Yet I held the award for a full minute. I’ll tell you how.
I was a freelance reporter those days. Probably in the early 90s. She had retreated into her self-reclusive days already and we were of the tad impression that she was doing this for publicity stunt. (We were proved hopelessly wrong today. )
Anyway, it was one of my umpteen visits to a renowned newspaper office in Kolkata and I was talking to the assistant editor about an assignment when I noticed a Filmfare Award on a rack behind him.
I asked: How is that here? Did you win it? In reply, he said: Go, go, go ahead. Hold it, hold it.
Curious, I went up and got it. It was quite heavy, lead, I supposed. I kept it on my lap and listened to the story as he related.
“When she was nominated and was invited to visit Mumbai… she said: Tsk!
“When she won the award and was called to collect it, she said: Tsk!
“Then Filmfare committee send the award to Calcutta office. Calcutta office contacted her and she said: Tsk!
“This award then went from being a coveted trophy to lying neglected in the godown in the newspaper office. I had gone there for a personal work one day when I spotted it. I brought it up and later heard this story. Since then, it has adorned my office.”
Some more facts I learned!
FAQS:1) Suchitra Sen refused the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (Highest Award given to a film artiste) because she didn’t want to step out of the house, and for this she had to go to Delhi.
2) Sen refused Raj Kapoor film under RK Banner (a banner today’s heroes and heroines would give an arm and a leg to be a part in )
3) Sen refused to work with Oscar-Winner director Satyajit Ray, because she had date problems!!?! Ray never got down to make this film (Devi Chowdhurani) in which he wanted her to star in — ever again in the future.
PS: The caption is my imagination. I wasn’t there when this snap was clicked. But I felt she was in her ‘obhimaan’ mood. What do u think?
Pictures: Dhiren Dev