It was an innocent time in Bangla mainstream entertainment. Comedy did not mean only jokes with insult comedy and sexual innuendos. It was a time when slapstick, character comedy, and refined wordplay. It was the time of the real comedy kings – Bhanu Bandyopadhyay, Jahor Roy, Santosh Dutta, Rabi Ghosh, Tulsi Chakraborty and many, many more. And then there was actor Chinmoy Roy, the beloved, quirky character that every Bangali seems to know personally.
The death of actor Chinmoy Roy is the loss of a gem from the black and white era of Bengali cinema.
Perhaps, his most popular work is the portrayal of Tenida in Charmurti. The voracious readers of Bengali children’s literature often complain that his rendition of the character was different from the literary character created by Narayan Gangopadhyay, Roy as Tenida is endearing to most Bangalis, children and adults alike. His don’t-care attitude towards his consistent low marks, his extreme love for food, his constant bluffs – every Bangali kid has grown up watching these.
But Roy has made several other memorable performances in Bengali cinema. Remember that scene from Goopey Gyne Bagha Byne, where he, as the spy, describes the greenery of Shundi? Or the lanky lawyer with salt and pepper hair in Dhonni Meye? From the thief in Golpo Holeo Sotyi, to the servant in Mouchak, Chinmoy Roy has infused life into many unforgettable characters. And who can forget his portrayal of the comic lover-boy in Basonto Bilaap? Chiriyakhana, Ekhoni, Podipisir Bormi Baksho, Nandigopaler Biye… The list goes on.
His life as an actor began on the stage, and was part of the erstwhile Nandikar theatre group. His performance in Manjuri Amer Manjori helped him bag his role in Golpo Holeo Sotyi. In his autobiography, Je Jibon Phoringer, he mentions after passing his matriculation exam with a third class, all the love and support he has received surprises him. Chinmoy Roy also went on to work in Jatras and soaps, and even directed a TV show.
In all this, he maintained his sense of humour. Take for example the image of cricketer Sourav Ganguly which he once shared on Facebook. Apparently, Dada didn’t recognise Roy even when the actor served food to the cricketer.
It’s evident that with actor Chinmoy Roy gone, the Bangla industry has one less treasure house of subtle, witty, humour with class. But, Bengalis will forever in indebted to him for making them laugh, and his films will be watched by generations to come.