Who was Diptendu Pramanick?
Diptendu Pramanick, hailing from Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), the capital of West Bengal, began his career as secretary to the Mayor of the city. During those days, he showed an affinity for literature, even though he was a science graduate. He slowly became a regular face at all literary events and festivals held across the city. He was a member of the reception committee of the 12th ‘Prabasi Banga-Sahitya Sammelan’, an annual literary festival, and was guided by the famous journalist Ramanada Chatterjee. This famous alumnus of ‘Asutosh College’ in Calcutta, served for a few years in the department of Civil Defence, and then went on to pursue a career in cinema. An enterprising man, he first started his own small-scale venture called ‘Cine Furnishers Limited’ and then moved on to the famous ‘Bengal Motion Pictures Association’. Under his leadership, the ‘BMPA’ widened its spectrum and the ‘Eastern India Motion Pictures Association’ was born. A new journal under the umbrella of ‘BMPA’ was also founded, with the film persona as its editor for more than twenty years. The ‘EIMPA’ was important part of the ‘Film Advisory Committee’, set up by the Indian government. It helped tackle the scarcity of raw film stock in the 1950s, and continues to assist the film industry in legal issues like sponsorship and piracy.
Childhood & Early Life
Diptendu was born to Bengali advocate Sudhamoy Pramanick and his wife Swarnabala, on July 18, 1910 in Calcutta.
He started pursuing his elementary education from a school in Calcutta, but later moved to the 'Raiganj Coronation School', in the Raiganj municipality of West Bengal. Diptendu came back to Calcutta and passed his Matriculation Examinations in 1926. Two years later he cleared his Intermediate examinations, specializing in Science.
The same year, in 1928, he started attending the 'Scottish Church College' in Calcutta, but left the institution owing to a tiff with a professor. Thereafter, he joined ‘Asutosh College’, and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Science, in 1931.
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In 1934, Pramanick was employed as Secretary to Sri Santosh Kumar Basu, who was then the Mayor of Calcutta. The young man was interested in Bengali literature and regularly started attending literary conferences.
He was a part of the reception committee of the 12th ‘Prabasi Banga-Sahitya Sammelan’, which was a literary convention held annually. The meet, which happened in 1934, was inaugurated by the famous writer Rabindranath Tagore in Calcutta.
In 1942, Sri Santosh Kumar Basu's term as the Mayor ended, and Diptendu was employed by the Civil Defence as a Liaison Officer. The Civil Defence was responsible for ensuring the safety of civilians during the World War II. Once the World War ended, the department was dissolved, and Diptendu lost his job.
After his stint at the department of Civil Defence, Pramanick set up an enterprise named ‘Cine Furnishers Limited’, along with a few of his friends. It is during this time that he became closely acquainted with eminent personalities of Bengali Cinema.
In 1948, he joined as Secretary at the ‘Bengal Motion Pictures Association’, which included producers and distributors of Bengali Cinema. The Association was headed by ‘Dada Saheb Phalke Award’ recipient, Sri Birendranath Sircar, an Indian film producer.
The ‘BMPA Journal’, a publishing arm of the ‘Bengal Motion Pictures Association’, was founded by Diptendu in 1949, and he served as its editor. The association flourished under Pramanick's guidance and was extended with new branches in the cities of Guwahati and Patna.
The extended association was named ‘Eastern India Motion Pictures Association’ (‘EIMPA’) and the office was shifted to its current location of ‘98E B.N. Sircar Sarani’, where the film personality served as its secretary.
Due to a deficit in the stock of raw film used for movie production in India, the government organized a ‘Film Advisory Committee’. ‘EIMPA’ played a significant role in managing the distribution of raw film stock, and Diptendu took charge of procuring and distributing materials for the film industry of the whole of eastern India.
The first ‘International Film Festival of India’ was held in 1952, by the ‘Films Division of the Government of India’. ‘BMPA’ looked after all aspects of the event in Calcutta, and special guest, American film director Frank Capra, was highly impressed with the arrangements.
During 1953-54, this prominent Bengali film personage was appointed as the Secretary of ‘Film Federation of India’. The next year, Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru launched the first film seminar at Delhi, convoked by the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi’, where Pramanick was a distinguished guest.
In 1959, this enterprising film personality served as the Joint Treasurer of the ‘Federation of Film Societies of India’, which was headed by Oscar winning Bengali film director Satyajit Ray.
The Bengali film enthusiast continued working as the editor of the ‘BMPA Journal’, which he founded himself, till the end of 1960s.
Towards the beginning of the next decade, he served in several film committees, working as a consultant over various issues in the field of Bengali Cinema.
Diptendu Pramanick served in various positions and capacities in the film industry throughout his career but is best known for having founded the ‘Eastern India Motion Pictures Association’, an extension of the ‘Bengal Motion Pictures Association’, and served as its secretary for many years.
Personal Life & Legacy
This eminent figure of Bengali Cinema passed away on December 15, 1989, in Calcutta, and is survived by son, Subrata and daughter, Eva.
The ‘Diptendu Pramanick Book Fund’ has been named after him and it provides free textbooks to underprivileged school children of the Dahuka village in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district.
This Bengali film personnel was a patriot who, like the freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, was expelled from the ‘Scottish Church College’, for assaulting a professor who showed anti-Indian sentiments.