Pijush Bandyopaddhyay: Unbeatable protagonist
As part of modern-day norms, famous personalities, celebrities in particular, continue to be stalked by spicy gossip. Although most of these grapevine small talks finally prove to be baseless, they unsettle the lives of many for some time. A few others remain steady, unruffled by ‘voyeuristic’ public curiosities. The then young group-theatre activist and actor Pijush completed his period of initiation into the performance world in the early 1970s. Like in the cases of many other emerging, talented actors the audience found in him an impeccable artiste devoted to his discipline of work. Things didn’t go this smooth with this young handsome actor. Since his entry into the acting world as a fulltime professional, his peaceful intimate life also began being disturbed by the turbulence of many an external happenings.
Apparently lucky as he was, Pijush Bandyopaddhay (b. 1950) did not have to go through this tumultuous phase for long. His unflinching dedication to the performing arts had helped him a lot to remain unscathed by juicy rumours. But the fact is, it was not until he completed successfully his mid-period acting career on the stage and television screen that Pijush could muster the required strength to move mountains of gossip. With stars apparently favouring him, this consummate actor did not confront any insurmountable challenge to his personal life and career. In one sense, actor Pijush was popular and admired enough to remain stoic in the midst of gossips of varying degrees. According to showbiz insiders, gossips help artistes reach stardom. It remains elusive to many otherwise powerful actors. Rumours have it that a section of artistes assign people from the world of yellow journalism to spin out tales about them. The artistes allegedly manipulate these rumours in a planned manner to make their audience-reach wider.
Pijush Bandyopaddhay didn’t have to take recourse to these sub-standard tricks. The reason being his was a case of veni vidi vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). With his debut on stage in Selim Al Deen’s ‘Shakuntala’ as an ancient Indian sage, Pijush’s march only took him forward. He didn’t have to look back. As he travelled from one stage play to another, the acting prowess of Pijush just kept maturing. The country’s group theatre world eventually found itself prepared enough to boast of an extraordinarily powerful stage artist. To an actor of this rare calibre, turbulence in private life and the accompanying gossips mean little. These distractions couldn’t pull Pijush back from his cherished goal. Eventually, the actor demonstrated his innate acting capabilities in TV plays, especially TV serials. Pijush emerged as a TV matinee idol.
The over four decades of Pijush’s eventful career witnessed innumerable ups and downs. He has lately shown his interest in social activism --- especially by embarking on efforts to forge unity among different communities. As he completes his 70th year of birth today (October 23, 2020), Pijush may well recall his moments of joy and victory and fulfillment --- and also his times of depression, despair and the moments of weeping in silence in the dark. In a sense, true artists are born to suffer. The heights of elation hardly reach them. Yet, upon acknowledging these adversities, the pure artist has the last laugh. He finally emerges as victorious. At this mature stage of life, let the struggling times of the past prove a passing phase of bad dreams to Pijush.
It is his commitment to the aesthetic aspects of life, and his capability to deliver, which surely has turned Pijush Bandyopaddhay into an unbeatable protagonist among us.
Writer: poet and journalist