7. Nishi Padma (1970); Dir: Arabinda Mukherjee
Amar Prem remains one of Rajesh Khanna’s most memorable performances – and yet a star as egotistical as him had no qualms in admitting that despite all his efforts, he was not a patch on Uttam Kumar in Nishi Padma, in particular the way Uttam calls out to his ‘Pushpa’. Based on Bibhutibhushan’s short story ‘Hinger Kochuri’, this is often cited as the definitive Uttam Kumar performance after Nayak. The film is also noteworthy for Sabitri, who acted in a number of films opposite Uttam, who matches the legend step for step, and for its evergreen Manna Dey songs, ‘Na na aaj ratey aar jatra dekhte jabo na’ and ‘Ja khushi ora boley boluk’. And that climactic scene, set against the backdrop of Durga Puja, where the man who ‘hates tears’ is left moist-eyed, is guaranteed to move the hardest of hearts.