Uttam Kumar(3 September 1926 ) was a legendary Bengali actor. He is fondly called the Mahanayak or the "Great Hero" of Bengali cinema.
His original name was Arun Kumar Chatterjee.He was born on 3 September 1926 at Ahiritola, North Kolkata but was called 'Uttam' by his maternal grandmother. His huge joint family had its own theatre group Suhrid Samaj which staged many amateur shows within the community.
No wonder then, Uttam Kumar was bitten by the acting bug right from childhood itself. Besides acting, he was also into sports and physical fitness. He took up wrestling, swimming, lathi-khela (sparring with wooden sticks), horse riding and tennis. In fact he was the swimming champion at the Bhowanipur Swimming Association three years in a row.
His school started in Chakraberia High School and later he shifted to South Subarban School.In 1936 young Arun with some of his friends founded a drama group named Lunar Club.There he acted the first play of his life and it was Tagore's "Mukut".At his very young age(10yrs),he won a trophy for acting in "Gayasur".
In 1942 he passed Matric and was admitted to the Government Commercial College.That was the period of Swadesi Andolon,the period when Indians were struggling for freedom.During that time his compositions were heard in the morning rally.From the very young age he was a good singer.He started his vocal training under Nidanbondhu Bandhopadhya.
After his schooling he went for higher studies in Goenka College of Commerce and Business Administration, an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta system.
After graduation, the financial condition of the family forced him to take up employment as a clerk at the Port Commissioner's office. To supplement his salary, he also gave singing lessons at a music school.He joined as a cashier in Port Commissioners' Office at Kidderpore in 1944 and as a music teacher in Chakraberia HighSchool.During this period, he acted for amateur theater groups.Initially Uttam Kumar followed the Kolkata theatre scene avidly but soon became dissatisfied with the existing trend of theatrical acting and always aimed for a more natural performance in his films..
But his heart,mind and soul was running at only on one place-Tollygunge Studio.At last he got chance as an extra but he first acted in the film "Mayador" which failed to release.
Uttam's first released film was Drishtidan (The gift of sight) directed by Nitin Bose. However his breakthrough film was Sare Chuyattor (74 and a half) with a young actress called Suchitra Sen. This romantic comedy launched the career of the greatest romantic duo to grace the Bangla film industry.Uttam-Suchitra have ever since been a household name.
Click here to Download the Biography of our MAHANAYAK