6. Chowringhee (1968); Dir: Pinaki Mukherjee
As a film, Chowringhee may not rank among the best of Bengali cinema, or even Uttam’s, but if there is one film that for me defines the charisma of Uttam Kumar, it is this. As Sata Bose, the receptionist at Hotel Shahjahan, who takes a young man under his wings and mentors him, Uttam is the epitome of charm in this adaptation of Sankar’s largely autobiographical novel of the same name. Manna Dey’s classic rendering of ‘Bado eka laage’ adds to the sense of loss that permeates the film and epitomizes the enigma that is Sata. One looks forward with great expectations to Srijit Mukherji’s adaptation of the novel.