After my family came here, said Sabitri Chatterjee, Bhanu Bandopadhyay, spotted me at Rashbehari one day and asked me to join the theatre group, Uttar Sarathi. Back then, Uttam Kumar was known as Arun Kumar. One day, he came to watch my rehearsals for a play at Kalika theatre. On getting to know about this, I ran to see him and rammed into a piece of furniture, injuring my right foot. I was bleeding but couldn’t contain my excitement. For me, seeing him was a great achievement. Once I was done, Bhanu Bandopadhyay told me, ‘Uttam has a group called Krishti O Srishti and he wants you to be part of their production.’ I asked him to take permission from my father.
Uttamda came to the house one day without prior intimation. We were in a pitiable state, the pillows were torn and there was no place to sit. I was really embarrassed. My father said he would give permission only if I was escorted to and from the rehearsals. While Uttamda was about to leave, my father asked him to pay an advance; I was shocked! My father was asking money from Uttam Kumar! I felt like dying… Uttamda took out a `50 note from his pocket and handed it to my father. After he left, I asked him why he did it. My father said, ‘Am I asking for money without a reason? Haven’t I raised all my daughters single-handedly? Today, I have no other option’. I was very sad. At that time, we hardly had the money to eat.
You must have been happy to join Uttam Kumar’s group…
The rehearsals began. Uttamda would take me to the rehearsals and bring me home. We used to take the tram… My second film, Subhadra under Sunanda Debi productions happened in a few years.