- Chhabi Biswas
Born July 12, 1900
Ahiritola, Kolkata, West Bengal
Died June 11, 1962(aged 61)
Kolkata, West Bengal
Occupation Actor Years active 1931 to 1962
Chhabi Biswas (Bengali: ছবি বিশ্বাস Chhobi Bishshash) (12 July 1900 – 11 June 1962) was a much revered Bengali character actor, primarily known for his performances in Tapan Sinha's Kabuliwala and Satyajit Ray's films Jalshaghar (The Music Room, 1958), Devi (The Goddess, 1960) and Kanchenjungha (1962).
He is the best remembered for his numerous roles as the quintessential aristocratic patriarch, was himself the scion of a rich and cultured North Kolkata family. He was born on 12 July 1900. His father Bhupatinath Biswas was well known for his charitable works. He was christened Sachindranath but his mother nicknamed her handsome son Chhabi (a beautiful picture!) and the name stuck throughout his life and career. His portrayal of the formidable father-figure, though often typecast, yet was powerful and convincing enough to earn both popular and critical accolades. That portrayal was culturally significant too as in the British Raj, enlightened Bengali used to combined both the hoary tradition and the Anglicised urbanity.
Life and film career
Passing his matriculation examinations from the Hindu School, Chhabi Biswas enrolled at the Presidency College and later at the Vidyasagar College. It was during this time he got into amateur theatrics and got in touch with Sisir Kumar Bhaduri, the legendary star of Bengali theatre. The young actor was deeply impressed by Sisir Kumar’s histrionic abilities and he got heavily involved with several amateur theatrical clubs. His powerful performance as Sri Gouranga in the play Nader Nimai sealed Chhabi Biswas’s popularity among the theatre lovers of the day.
He then took a break from acting and joined an insurance company, and later started a business dealing in jute products. But soon, unable to resist the temptations of the stage, Chhabi Biswas rejoined the theatre circuit and made his debut as a professional actor in a social-melodrama Samaj. Even after his success as a film actor Chhabi Biswas continued his association with the professional stage and Jatra circuit. His performance in major roles in hit plays like Shoroshi (1940), Sita (1940), Kedar Roy (1941), Shahjehan (1941), made him a much admired figure both among the audience and his peers.
In 1936, Chhabi Biswas made his cinematic debut in a film called Annapurnar Mandir. The film was directed by Tinkari Chakraborty and Chhabibabu played the role of Bishu, the husband of the heroine. Trained in the over-melodramatic acting style of the contemporary Bengali stage, Chhabi Biswas soon grasped the finer nuances of acting for cinema. He became a regular in films produced by the New Theatres and had major roles in Chokker Bali (1937), Nimai Sannyas (1940) and Pratisruti (1941). He was absolutely marvellous as a 90 year old ascetic in Debaki Bose’s film Nartaki (1940). Ironically, it was the success of his acting in Nartaki that limited his opportunities in lead roles but his reputation as a character actor par excellence was by now firmly in place. Chhabibabu’s second innings as an actor began with this film and he almost became an automatic choice as the paterfamilias or the suave noble. Using his perfect English diction to the hilt Chhabi Biswas (along with Pahadi Sanyal and Bikash Roy to a certain extent) developed a unique way of delivering a dramatic dialogue, first in English, and then after a pause repeating the same in Bengali. Films such as Ashok (1942), Parineeta (1942), Dwanda (1943), Matir Ghar (1944), Dui Purush (1945), Biraj Bou (1946) and Mandana (1950) showcased his talents as an actor of great quality.
Chhabi Biswas died in an automobile accident on 11 June 1962. After Biswas’s demise in 1962, Ray admitted that he did not write a single male middle-aged part that called for a high degree of professional talent.
Film (year) Director Role Annapurnar Mandir (1936) Tinkari Chakraborty Actor Haranidhi (1937) Tinkari Chakraborty Actor Chokher Bali (1938) Satu Sen Actor Chanakya (1939) Sisir Kumar Bhaduri Actor Sharmistha (1939) Naresh Mitra Actor Nartaki (1940) Debaki Bose Actor Nimai Sanyasi (1940) Phani Burma Actor Swami Stri (1940) Satu Sen Actor Pratisruti (1941) Hemchandra Chunder Actor Pratishodh (1941) Sushil Majumdar Actor Banglar Meye (1941) Naresh Mitra Actor Epar Opar (1941) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Pashan Devata (1942) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Shodhbodh (1942) Saumyen Mukherji Actor Avayer Biye (1942) Sushil Majumdar Actor Nari (1942) Prafulla Roy Actor Karnarjun (1942) Jyotish Bannerji Actor Jiban Sangini (1942) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Garmil (1942) Niren Lahiri Actor Bondi (1942) Sailajanand Mukherji Actor Parineeta (1942) Pasupati Chatterjee Actor Saugandh (1942) Hemchandra Chunder Actor Mahakabi Kalidas (1942) Niren Lahiri Actor Ashok (1942) Ajay Bhattacharya Actor Pativrata (1942) Jagadish Chakraborty Actor Mahakavi Kalidas (1942) Niren Lahiri Actor Milan (1942) Jyotish Bannerji Actor Nilanguriya (1943) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Devar (1943) Jyotish Bannerji Actor Daabi (1943) Dhirendranath Ganguly Actor Dwanda (1943) Hemen Gupta Actor Dampati (1943) Niren Lahiri Actor Aleya (1943) Nabendusundar Actor Samadhan (1943) Premendra Mitra Actor Dikshul (1943) Premankur Atorthey Actor Chhadmabeshi (1944) Ajay Bhattacharya Actor Pratikar (1944) Chhabi Biswas Actor, Director Matir Ghar 1944 Hari Bhanja Actor Dui Purush (1945) Subodh Mitra Actor Path Bendhe Dilo (1945) Premendra Mitra Actor Bondita (1945) Hemanta Gupta Actor Sree Durga (1945) Sailajananda Mukherjee Actor Raj Lakshmi (1945) Premendra Mitra Actor Vande Mataram (1946) Sudhirbandhu Bannerjee Actor Nibedita (1946) Pratibha Sasmal Actor Sangram (1946) Ardhendu Mukherjee Actor Saat Number Bari (1946) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Tumi Aar Aami (1946) Apurba Kumar Mitra Actor Biraj Bou (1946) Amar Mullick Actor Mandir (1947) Phani Burma Actor Chandrasekhar (1947) Debaki Bose Actor Nurse Sisi (1947) Subodh Mitra Actor Abhijog (1947) Sushil Majumdar Actor Anirban (1948) Soumyen Mukherjee Actor Nandaranir Sansar (1948) Surendraranjan Sarkar Actor Shesh Nibedan (1948) Dhirendranath Ganguly Actor Shankha Sindur (1948) Manujendra Bhanja Actor Umar Prem (1948) Khagen Roy Actor Sadharan Meye (1948) Niren Lahiri Actor Drishtidaan (1948) Nitin Bose Actor Manzoor (1949) Subodh Mitra Actor Debi Chowdhurani (1949) Satish Dangupta Actor Jar Jetha Ghar (1949) Chhabi Biswas Actor, Director Singhdwar (1949) Niren Lahiri Actor Vidyasagar (1950) Kali Prasad Ghose Actor Garabini (1950) Niren Lahiri Actor Mandanda (1950) Ratan Chatterjee Actor Mahasampad (1950) Surendraranjan Sarkar Actor Anurag (1951) Jatin Das Actor Kalsap (1951) Khagen Roy Actor Maldar (1951) Amit Moitra Actor Biplabi Kshudiram (1951) Hiranmoy Sen Actor Aparajita (1951) Partha Sarathy Drama Actor Durgesh Nandini (1951) Amar Mullick Actor Sunandar Biye (1951) Sudhir Sarkar Actor Ratrir Tapashya (1952) Sushil Majumdar Actor Krishnakanter Will (1952) Khagen Roy Actor Nirakshar (1952) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Prarthana (1952) Pranab Roy Actor Alladdin-o-ashcharya Pradeep (1952) Bijon Sen Actor Vidyasagar (1952) Kali Prasad Ghose Actor Kar Pape (1952) Kali Prasad Ghose Actor Jabanbondi (1952) Amar Dutta Actor Subhada (1952) Niren Lahiri Actor Sati Behula (1953) Sunil Ganguly Actor Raja Krishnachandra (1953) Sudhirbandhu Bannerjee Actor Jog Biyog (1953) Pinaki Mukherji Actor Boudir Bon (1953) Khagen Roy Actor Sabuj Paharh (1953) Apurba Kumar Mitra Actor Saat Number Kayedi (1953) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Baimanik (1953) Shyam Chakraborty Actor Blind Lane (1953) Sailajananda Mukherjee Actor Shesher Kabita (1953) Modhu Bose Actor Lakh Taka (1953) Niren Lahiri Actor Makarsar Jaal (1953) Pashupati Kundu Actor Prafulla (1954) Chitta Bose Actor Jadubhatta (1954) Niren Lahiri Actor Bhanga-gara (1954) Sushil Majumdar Actor Banglar Nari (1954) Sailajananda Mukherjee Actor Ora Thake Odhare (1954) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Naa (1954) Shri Tarashankar Actor Dhuli (1954) Pinaki Mukherjee Actor Shobha (1954) Niren Lahiri Actor Shorashi (1954) Pasupati Chatterjee Actor Chhele Kar (1954) Chitta Bose Actor Maa-o-chhele (1954) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Kalyani (1954) Niren Lahiri Actor Sadanander Mela (1954) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Bidhilipi (1955) Manu Sen Actor Debi Malini (1955) Niren Lahiri Actor Dattak (1955) Kamal Ganguly Actor Kalo Bou (1955) Silpi Sangha Actor Rani Rashmoni (1955) Kali Prasad Ghose Actor Katha Kao (1955) Sailajananda Mukherjee Actor Pather Sheshey (1955) Ardhendu Chatterjee Actor Sanjher Pradeep (1955) Sudhangsu Mukherjee Actor Prashna (1955) Chandrasekhar Bose Actor Hrad (1955) Ardhendu Sen Actor Shribatsa Chinta (1955) Phani Burma Actor Bhagaban Sree Sree Ramkrishna (1955) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Drishti (1955) Chitta Bose Actor Upahar (1955) Tapan Sinha Actor Parishodh (1955) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Joy Maa Kali Boarding (1955) Sadhan Sarkar Actor Bratacharini (1955) Kamal Ganguly Actor Jharer Pare (1955) Debnarayan Gupta Actor Sabar Upare (1955) Agradoot Actor Falgu (1956) Satish Dasgupta Actor Asamapta (1956) Ratan Chatterjee Actor Trijama (1956) Agradoot Actor Rajpath (1956) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Shankar Narayan Bank (1956) Niren Lahiri Actor Govindadas (1956) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Asabarna (1956) Pinaki Mukherjee Actor Kabuliwala (1956) Tapan Sinha Actor Daner Maryada (1956) Sushil Majumdar Actor Mamlar Phal (1956) Pasupati Chatterjee Actor Madan Mohan (1956) Amal Kumar Bose Actor Raat Bhor (1956) Mrinal Sen Actor Ekdin Ratre (1956) Sombhu Mitra Actor Chhaya Sangini (1956) Bidyapati Ghosh Actor Bhola Master (1956) Niren Lahiri Actor Shubharatri (1956) Sushil Majumdar Actor Sadhak Ramprosad (1956) Bangsi Ash Actor Suryamukhi (1956) Bikash Ray Actor Saheb Bibi Golam (1956) Kartick Chattopadhyay Actor Putrabadhu (1956) Chitta Bose Actor Taka-ana-pai (1956) Jyotirmoy Roy Actor Paradhin (1956) Modhu Bose Actor Sinthir Sindoor (1956) Ardhendu Sen Actor Kirti Garh (1956) Soumyen Mukherjee Actor Manraksha (1956) Satish Dasgupta Actor Kari-o-komal (1957) Moni Ghosh Actor Bardidi (1957) Ajay Kar Actor Abhishek (1957) Chitra Pali Actor Adarsha Hindu Hotel (1957) Ardhendu Sen Actor Parash Pathar (1957) Satyajit Ray Actor Tapasi (1957) Chitta Bose Actor Prithibi Amare Chay (1957) Niren Lahiri Actor Shesh Parichoy (1957) Sushil Majumdar Actor Madhabir Jonye (1957) Nitin Bose Actor Chhaya Path (1957) Gunamaya Bannerjee Actor Antariksha (1957) Rajen Tarafdar Actor Mathur (1957) Sudhirbandhu Bannerjee Actor Ghum (1957) Agrani Actor Pathe Holo Deri (1957) Agradoot Actor Kancha-mithey (1957) Jyotirmoy Roy Actor Baksiddha (1957) Bireswar Bose Actor Khela Bhangar Khela (1957) Ratan Chatterjee Actor Sandhan (1957) Chitta Sen Actor Natun Prabhat (1957) Bikash Ray Actor Rastar Chhele (1957) Chitta Bose Actor Surer Parashe (1957) Chitta Bose Actor Bara Maa (1957) Niren Lahiri Actor Ektara (1957) Hiren Bose Actor Louha-kapat (1957) Tapan Sinha Actor Harishchandra (1957) Phani Burma Actor Garer Math (1957) Aaj Production Unit Actor Abhoyer Biye (1957) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Nilachale Mahaprabhu (1957) Kartick Chattopadhyay Actor Marmabani (1958) Sushil Majumdar Actor Tansen (1958) Niren Lahiri Actor Indrani (1958) Niren Lahiri Actor Nagini Kanyar Kahini (1958) Salil Sen Actor Daily Passenger (1958) Sadhan Sarkar Actor O Amar Desher Mati (1958) Pathikrit Actor Jamalaye Jibanta Manush (1958) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Nupur (1958) Dilip Nag Actor Jalsaghar (1958) Satyajit Ray Drama Actor Bandhu (1958) Chitta Bose Actor Surya Toran (1958) Agradoot Actor Sadhak Bamakshyapa (1958) Narayan Ghosh (2) Actor Headmaster (1958) Agragami Actor Chaowa Pawa (1958) Tarun Majumdar, Yatrik Actor Priya (1958) Salil Sen Actor Dhoomketu (1958) Gouranga Prasad Basu Actor Sashibabur Sansar (1959) Sudhir Mukherjee Actor Kshaniker Atithi (1959) Tapan Sinha Actor Chhabi (1959) Niren Lahiri Actor Amrapali (1959) Shri Tarashankar Actor Nirdharita Silpir Anupastithi Tey (1959) Nirmal Dey Actor Gali Theke Rajpath (1959) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Mriter Martye Agaman (1959) Pasupati Chatterjee Actor Shubha Bibaha (1959) Sombhu Mitra Actor Khelaghar (1959) Ajay Kar Actor Sonar Harin (1959) Mangal Chakraborty Actor Rater Andhakare (1959) Agrani Actor Thakur Haridas (1959) Gobinda Ray Actor Derso Khokhar Kando (1959) Kamal Ganguly Actor Bicharak (1959) Prabhat Mukherjee Actor Bhranti (1959) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Agnisambhabha (1959) Sushil Majumdar Actor Nrityeri Tale Tale (1959) Sudhirbandhu Bannerjee Actor Kshudista Pashan (1960) Tapan Sinha Actor Gariber Meye (1960) Ardhendu Mukherjee Actor Nader Nimai (1960) Bimal Roy Jr. Actor Hospital (1960) Sushil Majumdar Actor Shesh Paryanta (1960) Sudhir Mukherjee Actor Shuno Baranari (1960) Ajay Kar Actor Tailangaswami (1960) Chitrasarathi Actor Maya Mriga (1960) Chitta Bose Actor Smriti Tuku Thaak (1960) Tarun Majumdar Actor Raja-saja (1960) Bikash Ray Actor Surer Piyasi (1960) Bishu Dasgupta Actor Haat Baralei Bandhu (1960) Sukumar Dasgupta Actor Sakher Chor (1960) Prafulla Chakraborty Actor Debarshi Narader Sansar (1960) Panchaboot Actor Ajana Kahini (1960) Sunil Baran Actor Chupi Chupi Ase (1960) Premendra Mitra Actor Devi (1960) Satyajit Ray Actor Carey Saheber Munsi (1961) Bikash Ray Actor Manik (1961) Bijoli Baran Sen Actor Agni Sanskar (1961) Agradoot Actor Madhya Rater Tara (1961) Pinaki Mukherjee Actor Madhureno (1961) Shanti Bannerjee Actor Kanchanmulya (1961) Nirmal Mitra Actor Kancher Swarga (1961) Tarun Majumdar Actor Saptapadi (1961) Ajay Kar Actor Ashay Bandhinu Ghar (1961) Kanak Mukherjee Actor Necklace (1961) Dilip Nag Actor Maa (1961) Chitta Bose Actor Swayambara (1961) Asit Sen Actor Bishkanya (1961) Shri Jayadratha Actor Dainee (1961) Manoj Bhattacharya Actor Dada Thakur (1962) Sudhir Mukherjee Actor Kanchenjungha (1962) Satyajit Ray Actor Shubhoddristi (1962) Chitta Bose Actor Bipasha (1962) Agradoot Actor Bodhu (1962) Bhupen Roy Actor Suryasnan (1962) Ajay Kumar Actor Atal Jaler Ahwan (1962) Ajay Kar Actor Sorry Madam (1962) Dilip Bose Actor Shiulibari (1962) Pijush Bose Actor Agnisikha (1962) Rajen Tarafdar Actor Dhupchhaya (1962) Chitta Bose Actor Mayar Sansar (1962) Kanak Mukherjee Actor Kajal (1962) Sunil Bannerjee Actor Surya Sikha (1963) Salil Dutta Actor High Heel (1963) Dilip Bose Actor Chhakka Panja (1963) Prafulla Roy Actor Kantatar (1964) Bireshwar Mukherjee Actor Bignam O Bidhata (1973) Bimal Roy Jr. Actor Shri Shri Maa Lakshmi (1977) Prabhat Chakraborty Actor
Awards and recognitions
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1960
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