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Roopa Ganguly (born 25 November 1966) is an Indian actress, playback singer and politician. As an actress, she is known for her versatility as well as keen and incisive transformation into characters and has often been promoted as the Bengali Film Industry's answer to Bollywood's Shabana Azmi. She has worked with renowned directors such as Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Goutam Ghose and Rituparno Ghosh. She received several awards including a National Award and two BFJA Awards. She is a popular face of Indian television and best known for her rendition of Draupadi in B R Chopra's hit television series Mahabharat (1988). She is a trained Rabindra Sangeet vocalist and a classical dancer. In October, 2015, she was nominated as a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, by the President of India. She served as the President of BJP Mahila Morcha in West Bengal. She served as the General Secretary and the Vice President for the West Bengal Motion Picture Artistes' Forum, a body representing cine artistes.
25 November 1966|
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Spouse(s)||Dhruba Mukherjee (1992–2006, Divorced)|
Bengal Film Journalists' Association – Best Supporting Actress Award (1996) for Ujan|
Bengal Film Journalists' Association – Best Supporting Actress Award (2006) for Antarmahal
National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer (2011) for Abosheshey
|MP of Rajya Sabha (Nominated) |
Assumed office |
4 October 2016
|Preceded by||Navjot Singh Sidhu|
Ganguly rose to renown for her performance in the Bengali television series Muktabandha (1985). She got her first national break in the Hindi TV series Ganadevta (1986) and shot to wider fame and popularity after she had played the character of Draupadi in Baldev Raj Chopra's Mahabharat (1988 TV series). She reprised the role Draupadi in Baldev Raj Chopra's Mahabharat Katha. She was further appreciated for her roles in TV series such as Virasat and Sukanya. She acted a small part in Mrinal Sen's Ek Din Achanak (1989). In early nineties, she acted in a number of commercial films, but most of them flopped at the box office. In 1993, she appeared In Goutam Ghose's National Award winning Bengali film Padma Nadir Majhi (1993), which earned her critical acclaim for her enticing portrayal of Kapila. She also earned rave review at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 1994, for her performance in Sanat Dasgupta's National Award winning Bengali film Janani (1993). In 1995, she appeared in Amal Ray Ghatak's Bengali film Ujan, which earned her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996. She then played the character of Anasuya, an obsessed dancer in Aparna Sen's National Award-winning Bengali film Yugant (1995). For a long time after that, she was not seen in any strong role till Rituparno Ghosh came to her with the offer of Antarmahal (2005), which earned her rave critical acclaim as well as the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. In the same year, she acted in the role of a conceited actress in Anjan Dutt's Tarpor Bhalobasa, which once again earned her rave critical acclaim. She was also acclaimed for her performance in Sekhar Das's National Award winning Bengali film Krantikaal (2005). In January 2006, she was named by The Indian Express in the list of the five most powerful actresses of 2005. She went on to earn further recognition for her roles in films such as Kaaler Rakhal (2009), Chowrasta - The Crossroads of Love (2009), Chaurahen (2012), Na Hannyate (2012), Dutta Vs Dutta (2012) and Punascha (2014). In 2011, she won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey (2012).
Ganguly has mostly been approached to play tameless determined characters, rather than usual submissive helpless ones, or it would be better to state that she has always been identified with those characters of strong resolution and free will. She has been highly applauded for her unwavering roles in films such as Antarmahal (2005), Ek Mutho Chabi (2005) and Dutta Vs Dutta (2012), to name a few. Goutam Ghose said that "she has that skill to transform herself into any character she plays." Rituparno Ghosh described her as "a roisterer of pathos and exuberance through the portrayal of her characters." Mira Nair described her as "one of those most confident and powerful actresses around."
Roopa Ganguly was born in Kalyani near Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She grew up in a joint family. She was a student of Beltala Girls' High School, from which she finished her secondary examination (Madhyamik Pariksha). Later, she obtained a bachelor's degree from the Jogamaya Devi College, an affiliated undergraduate women's college of University of Calcutta, in Kolkata.
Ganguly was married to Dhrubo Mukerjee from 1992 until 2006. They had one child in 1997. She was also in a live-in relationship with her singer companion, Dibyendu. The couple lived in Ganguly's Mumbai flat until the end of their relationship.
Debut and Breakthrough (1986 - 1989)Edit
Ganguly rose to renown for her performance in the hit Bengali television series Muktabandha. She was featured in the much acclaimed Bengali TV series Streer Patra (1985), which won her huge accolades. She got her first national break in Ganadevta (1986), a Hindi television series. She shot to wider popularity after essaying the pivotal role of Draupadi, in B.R. Chopra's mythological TV series, Mahabharat (1988), which immediately got her huge mass attention. In this TV series, she appeared for the first time on the thirty-fourth episode, but it was the forty-seventh episode where the Vastraharan sequence was aired and her performance in it turned her into an exemplification of Draupadi for a long time. The dignity and vigour she displayed as Draupadi, especially in the Vastraharan sequence is something that has been and will be a hard challenge to be replicated ever. The way she threw those invigorated words: "Aankhen jhukana kisi samasya ka samadhan nahi hai" captivated the hearts of millions and through the generations onward she has been impersonated as Draupadi.
She was consecutively paired with Chiranjeet Chakraborty in Prabhat Roy's Bengali films such as Pratik (1988), Tufan (1989) and Agnitrishna (1989). She acted in Mrinal Sen's much acclaimed Hindi Film Ek Din Achanak (1989) and Basu Chatterjee's Hindi film Kamla Ki Maut (1989).
Flaccid Career (1990 - 2004)Edit
In 1990, she appeared in Tariq Shah's Hindi film Baahar Aane Tak, which was a box office debacle. Onwards, she appeared in films such as Kovelamudi Bapayya's Pyar Ka Devta (1991), Raj Sippy's Saugandh (1991) and Rajkumar Kohli's Virodhi (1992) to name a few. In 1991, she acted in the blockbuster Kannada film Police Matthu Dada, directed by Tulsi Ramsay and Shyam Ramsay. In the same year, she appeared in its Hindi remake titled Inspector Dhanush. The film flopped at the box office. In 1992, she acted in A. V. Seshagiri Rao's Telegu film Inspector Bhavani, where she played the character of a sincere police officer whose object is to bring an end to those who assassinated her fiancée. In the same year, she acted in Sukanta Roy's Bengali film Pitrireen, where she played the character of Sathi, a photographer who inquires about her father's assassin.
In 1993, she appeared in Goutam Ghose's award-winning Bengali film Padma Nadir Majhi, where she played the character of Kapila, a woman from the fishermen community who falls for her sister's husband and finally leaves her family to settle with him on Moynadeep island. Her performance in this film was highly appreciated by the critics and media personalities. Utpal Dutt, who was also a part of this venture, was recorded to comment on her performance: "Roopa has really lived the life of Kapila with those flawless body languages of a woman from the fisherman community." In 1995, she appeared in Amal Roy Ghatak's Bengali film Ujan, which won her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1996. In 1996, she appeared in Aparna Sen's award-winning Bengali film Yugant, where she played the character of an obsessed dancer. Her performance in the film won favourable reviews. Apart from acting in feature films, she went on appearing in numerous telefilms and television series, both in Bengali and Hindi, including Sukanya (1998).
In 2000, she appeared in Rituparno Ghosh's award-winning Bengali film Bariwali, where she played the character of Sudeshna Mitra, an actress playing the character of Binodini, in a film Chokher Bali directed, alongside the male protagonist. In 2001, she appeared in a cameo role in Goutam Ghose's award-winning Bengali film Dekha. Though she made a cameo appearance in it, she garnered huge mass attention as the film was widely advertised on her enthralling dialogue; "Sagar dekhben naa, shudhu amake dekhun." In the film, she rendered her character with a fine, seductive approach, especially in the Eki Labonyo Purna Prate song sequence, where the character played by Soumitra Chatterjee recalls an earlier moment of Ganguly gazing back at him. In 2003, she appeared in Gautam Ghose's Bengali film Abar Aranye, where she played the character of Shimul, a buoyant woman who is grief-stricken at the deepest core of her heart for the probable loss of her husband. She appeared in a cameo role in Bow Barracks forever (2004) by Anjan Dutt.
Prime Flow in Career (2005 - 2015)Edit
In 2005, she appeared in Rituparno Ghosh's award-winning Bengali film Antarmahal, where she played the character of Mahamaya, a docile wife to an arrogant zamindar. Her performance in the film was hugely appreciated by film critics. Her Mahamaya is a worthy contender to lead any listing of memorable women characters from Ghosh's abundant array of some seriously multi-dimensional female protagonists seen on celluloid in recent times. She rekindles memories of her fiery act of Draupadi in B R Chopra’s Mahabharat (1988 TV series) through her blow hot, blow cold performance. The film’s narrator may be the British artist, but hers is the character that drives its most dramatic moments and through whom the audience is warned about the catastrophe in waiting. From a jealous, wasted aging wife in the beginning, she seizes screen presence with her every appearance, lacing it with new untapped facets to her personality. To her husband's employees, she is like an incarnation of the goddess-provider, to Jashomati she is the nurturer and to the voyeuristic exploitative priests, she is the ultimate sexual tease. In the zamindar's "antarmahal" abounding with women resigned to their fates, she is a thinking, living, sexual being, who sets her own agendas and seeks her own pleasures, almost like a man. She herself considered this role as a big challenge as it was inherently contrary to her personality. The film won her the BFJA Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. In the same year, she appeared in Sekhar Das's award-winning Bengali film Krantikaal (2005), where she played the character of Subarna, who befriends a terrorist who broke into her house. She appeared in Raj Mukherjee's Bengali film Nagordola (2005), where she portrayed the character of an arrogant and rude woman who gets diagnosed as having throat cancer and realises that life is not like it has conventionally been and gives her full consent to her own unmarried daughter to give birth of her baby and to bring it up. The film was a major hit at the box office for its contemporary social issue. Her performance in the film earn her an Anandalok Award nomination in the Best Actress in the Leading Role category in 2006. She acted in the much acclaimed Bengali film Ek Mutho Chabi (2005), produced by herself, where she played the character of an established actress who has a car accident, consequently losing her career. In December, 2005, Ganguly was named by The Telegraph in the list of Five Crowning Queens of 2005 alongside Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Konkona Sen Sharma and Vidya Balan.
In 2007, she again shifted her base to Mumbai and started working in Hindi TV series, with Karam Apnaa Apnaa (2007), moving on to Love Story (SAB TV series) (2007), and more recently in Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo (2009).
In 2011, she won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey (2012) where she also acted. In the film, she portrayed the character of Suchismita. She appeared in Birsa Dasgupta's Jaani Dyakha Hawbe (2011), which after much commercial expectation proved to be a failure at the box office. She acted in Anurag Basu's blockbuster film Barfi! (2012). She acted in Anjan Dutt's Dutta Vs Dutta, (2012) where she played the character of "Runu mashi", who lives her life on her own terms and inspires the protagonist to live the life he desires. She appeared in Riingo's Bengali film Na Hannyate (2012), where she played the character of Jui, who is caught in a situation where she could save only one of her kids and leave the other to die. In 2013, she appeared in Utsav Mukherjee's hilarious social-satirical film Half Serious. She played the role of goddess Durga in the film. She appeared in Rana Basu's Bengali film Namte Namte (2013). She also appeared in Shekhar Das's Bengali film Nayanchampar Dinratri (2013). In 2014, she appeared alongside Soumitra Chatterjee in Souvik Mitra's Bengali film Punascha, where she played the muse of an award-winning author, played by Chatterjee. The film earned her rave reviews including the statement made by The Times of India that the film belongs to her only. In 2015, she acted in Debesh Chottopadhyay's Bengali film Natoker Moto and Aparna Sen's Bengali film Arshinagar. She will be seen in the role of a foul mouthed politician in an upcoming Hindi film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, directed by Kushan Nandy.
In 2015, Ganguly joined Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 2016.
Awards and recognitionsEdit
Ganguly had won numerous awards, including a National Award, Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards two times and Kalakar Awards three times. In 2011, she was awarded the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for rendering her voice in Aditi Roy's Bengali film Abosheshey. She was awarded for her husky and haunting voice in the songs Dure Kothay and Aji Bijan Ghare.
|1989||Smita Patil Memorial Award||Best Actress||Mahabharat||Won|
|1993||Kalakar Awards||Best Actress||Mukta Bandha||Won|
|2002||Kalakar Awards||Best Actress||Ingeet||Won|
|1996||Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Ujan||Won|
|1998||Kalakar Awards||Best Actress||Yugant||Won|
|2006||Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Antarmahal||Won|
|2011||National Film Award||Best Female Playback Singer||Abosheshey||Won|
- Social and cultural anthropologist Purnima Mankekar's ethnography of television-viewing in India, Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India, published by Duke University Press in 1999, features a still shot of Ganguly as Draupadi on its cover.
|1989||Ek Din Achanak||Hindi||Mrinal Sen|
|Kamla Ki Maut||Hindi||Basu Chatterjee|
|1990||Manasi||Bengali||Amal Ray Ghatak|
|Bahaar Aane Tak||Hindi||Tariq Shah|
|1991||Pyar Ka Devta||Hindi||Kovelamudi Bapayya|
|Police Matthu Dada||Kannada||Tulsi Ramsay
|Inspector Dhanush||Hindi||Tulsi Ramsay
|Kadana||Kannada||K V Raju|
|Naa Ille Naa Swargam||Telugu||K. R. Reddy|
|Sadharan Meye||Bengali||Shamit Bhanja|
|Nishchaiy||Hindi||Esmayeel Shroff||Special appearance|
|Dharma Yuddha||Bengali||Shamit Bhanja|
|Surer Bhubane||Bengali||Prabir Mitra||Special appearance|
|1993||Janani||Bengali||Sanat Dasgupta||Ganguly plays the character of a woman who gets victimized by the rural, precarious culture of witchcraft.|
|Padma Nadir Majhi||Bengali||Goutam Ghose||Ganguly plays the character of Kapila who falls for sister's husband. She was applauded for her performance as well as her apt regional accent.|
|Prithibir Shesh Station||Bengali||Lalit Mukherjee|
|Rajar Raja||Bengali||Shamit Bhanja|
|Ujan||Bengali||Amal Ray Ghatak|
|1996||Yugant||Bengali||Aparna Sen||Ganguly plays the character of a dancer to whom definition of art remained restricted to its visual effect.|
|Rupasi Dohai Tomar||Bengali|
|Bastir Meye Radha||Bengali||Chiranjeet Chakraborty|
|2002||Anamni Angana||Bengali||Dr Swapan Saha|
|Bangali Babu||Bengali||Anjan Chowdhury|
|2003||Abar Aranye||Bengali||Goutom Ghosh|
|2004||Mahulbanir Sereng||Bengali||Sekhar Das|
|Bow Barracks Forever||English||Anjan Dutt|
|Shunyo E Buke||Bengali||Kaushik Ganguly|
|Tarpor Bhalobasa||Bengali||Anjan Dutt|
|2007||Bidhatar Lekha||Bengali||Raja Mukerji|
|2008||Khela||Bengali||Rituparno Ghosh||Special appearance|
|2009||Luck||Hindi||Dhillin Mehta||Special appearance|
|Kaaler Rakhal||Bengali||Sekhar Das|
|Chowrasta - Crossroads of Love||Bengali||Anjan Dutt|
|2011||Jaani Dyakha Hawbe||Bengali|
|Hemlock Society||Bengali||Srijit Mukherjee|
|Na Hannyate||Bengali||Ringo Banerjee|
|Nobel Chor||Bengali||Suman Ghosh|
|Dutta Vs Dutta||Bengali||Anjan Dutt|
|2013||Namte Namte||Bengali||Rana Basu|
|Half Serious||Bengali||Utsav Mukherjee|
|Aashbo Arek din||Bengali|
|2014||Nayanchapar Dinratri||Bengali||Sekhar Das|
|2015||Natoker Moto - Like a Play||Bengali||Debesh Chattopadhyay|
- Ganadevta (1986 TV Series)
- Mahabharat (1988 TV Series) as Draupadi
- Sukanya (1998 TV Series)
- Karam Apnaa Apnaa (TV series) (2007)
- Love Story (SAB TV series) (2007)
- Waqt Batayega Kaun Apna Kaun Paraya (TV series) (2008)
- Kasturi (TV series) (2009)
- Sacch Ka Saamna(2009) (TV series)
- Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo (2009)
- Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil(2011) (TV series)
- Heroine (2009 TV series, one episode)
- Kuch Toh Hai Tere Mere Darmiyaan (2015)
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- History of the College
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