Making a documentary on his father and director Bimal Roy, Remembering Bimal Roy, was more of a spiritual experience for Joy Roy. “On a personal note, this film is about my father, the man he was. I felt it necessary to take this journey because I lost him when I was 10 years old. I grew up watching his films and got to know him mainly through his films. I wanted to know my father better and not only through his works. I wanted to know what his personality was like. I have heard that he was a quiet person but obviously there was more to him than that. He was also referred to as 'Married Print' in the industry as he was obsessed about work. He was a busy man, married to cinema,” says Joy, who interviewed many of Bimal Roy’s contemporaries in a bid to draw a complete picture of his father. “Unfortunately many of them have passed away. However, it was a moving experience for me to know that my father was a much loved man,” he adds.
It took Joy two years to make the documentary. “I felt like a new-born once I finished the film. It had been a very uplifting journey, it was as if I had cleansed myself,” says Joy, adding, “The film finally became a sort of 'thank you’ to my father. I owe everything to my parents who have ensured a good life for me.”
For Joy, the challenge during filming was in remaining objective over becoming subjective. “I tried not be sentimental but I won’t say it is critical of him either,” he says.
Interestingly, Joy did not include himself in the film. “I know people are surprised that I didn’t include myself. I felt it would be an overkill, had I done so. There’s already the interviews of my sister and mother,” says Joy.
“My father’s friend, Tapan Sinha, had memories of incidents 60 years ago but he spoke of them as if they had occurred yesterday. This was true with almost everyone I spoke to,” he continues.
Of all his father’s films Madhumati remains as Joy’s favourite.
Another thing that struck him from all the anecdotes he collected, was Bimal Roy’s respect for women. “Somebody spoke about his generosity once, but what stood out was his immense respect for women. Many of his films were based on the woman’s story.”
Remembering Bimal Roy was screened at Bengaluru International Film Festival on December 28. Besides, five of Bimal Roy’s films Do Bigha Zameen, Bandini, Madhumati, Naukri and Sujata are also part of the festival.