10 Best Performances Of ‘Mahanayak’ Uttam Kumar, Film Companion

5. Antony Firingee (1967); Dir: Sunil Bandopadhyay

10 Best Performances Of ‘Mahanayak’ Uttam Kumar, Film Companion

Still revelling in the glow of Nayak, which released the previous year, Uttam delivered yet another winner in this biopic on the life of Hensman Anthony, a Portuguese, who in nineteenth-century Bengal overcame the obstacles of language, and ridicule and humiliation at the hands of the leading Bengali kobiyals (poet-singers) of the era to emerge as a devotional and folk poet, known for his mastery of kobigaan or song duels. He marries a courtesan, memorably played by Tanuja, only to court social ostracization. Boasting some of the finest songs of Bengali cinema – ‘Aami je jalsaghare’, ‘Aami jamini tumi shoshi hey’ – the film fetched Uttam the National Award for Best Actor, then known as the Bharat Award, one that he shared with … well, himself, in Chiriyakhana, making him not only the first-ever winner of the National Award, but also the only one to have won it for two films in the same year!

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