Once Rani Mukherjee was asked to say something on her celebrated aunt Debasree Roy, regarding any issue that Rani was bothered of. Rani thought for a little and then she spoke out, “The thing is she is emotional but at the same time moody. Sometimes she needs to be nagged a whole day to reply a while.” Do the other close ones of Debasree Roy feel the same? We feel the same of course. Debasree Roy is out an out an emotional persona. And we are not sure how many consider her whimsical too. At least we can say that she nourishes some qualities of hers, that never helped her career race ahead. She has been emotional and whimsical even in term of her career and here lies the stark contradiction between her and her arch rival Rituparna Sengupta who has been thoroughly professional throughout her caree
Debasree Roy literally began her career when she was actually eleven months old. Her mother Arati Roy brought her to the set of Hiranmoy Sen’s Pagal Thakur (1966). Her father Birendra Kishore Roy was an employee in West Bengal Finance Corporation. She is the juniormost among the six siblings. Her nick name is Chumki. Her eledest sister is Purnima. The second eldest is Krishna Mukherjee who is married to Producer Ram Mukherjee. The third child of the family was Ramendra Kishore Roy, the deceased cinematographer of the South Indian Film Industry. His nick name was Santu. The fourth child of the Roy family is Mrigen Roy whose nickname is Nantu. Jhuma is the fifth child of the family. The siblings have been attached to each other from the very childhood especially Debasree Roy had a deep attachment to her brother Santu and is still attached to sister Jhuma. She lost her dearest Santuda right after she got divorced from Prosenjit. She often recalls the beautiful days of her childhood life. All of them were highly enthusiastic regarding stage performance. She performed on stage for the first time when she was barely three years old and soon became a popular performer. Her sister Jhuma was also a popular performer. Publicly, they were known as Rumki and Jhumki.
In 1969, she again appeared in Hiranmoy Sen’s Balak Gadadhar. She was credited as Miss Chumki in the film. In 1971, she got a big break in Tarun Majumder’s Thriller film Kuheli. She played the daughter to Biswajit and Sandhya Roy in the film. Her character was Ranu who, everyday at the night, stealthily goes to appoint her dead mother. After the film had released, she became a starlet. After the huge success of Kuheli, Tarun Majumder, once, said during an interview session, “As for Chumki, the sweetest actor of this film, I think that she has a promising quality to be a spectacular actor of the generation next.” In 1978, she was cast as an adult actress opposite Mithun Chakraborty in Arabinda Mukhopadhyay’s Nadi Theke Sagare. She was credited as Rumki Roy in this film. In 1979, she acted in Waheeda Rehman starer Jiban Je Rakam where her sister Jhumki also played a part. In 1980, Tarun Majumder cast Rumki in his Dadar Kirti and changed her name into Debasree Roy. The film was a cult hit in the history of Bengali cinema. DK turned her into a star and Mahua Roychoudhury into the numero uno of early eighties. In 1981, she got her national break in Aparna Sen’s directorial debut 36 Chowringhee Lane. Though the film was a major flop at box office, she created waves in Bollywood media due to her steamy scenes in the film. She decided to accept offers from Bollywood and signed Jiyo To Aise Jiyo (1981) under the banner of Rajashri Productions. Though she had literally nothing to do but to add glamour, still she had a hillarious sequence where she escaped from a band goons and met Arun Govil who rescued her from the ruffians. The film grossed well at box office. In 1982, she made a blunder giving her nod to star in Desh Goutam’s Bura Aadmi which also stars superstar Pran in lead. Desh Goutam himself was not a successful director. His earlier film Lagaam was not a success and this one also turned out as another dud at box office.
Debasree Roy and Sridevi in Justice Chaudhury (1983)
Debasree Roy made another unwise decision by giving her nod to a role of a mute girl in Kovelamudi Raghavendra Rao’s multistarer film Justice. The film became a big hit but she was accreditted a little. She acted in Hindi films like Mukul Dutt’s Phulwari (1984), Akash Jain’s Seepeeyan (1984) and Vijay Singh’s Kabhi Ajnabi The (1985). Back then Kabhi Ajnabi The was ancipated to be a huge hit due to the amatory presentation of Debasree Roy in the song sequence Geet Mere Hothon Pe De Gaya Koi. She reminisced the amorous avatar of Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana (1969). The song topped the list of chartbuster tunes of that year and was bet to be the biggest crowd pulling factor of the film. The film opened with 80% seat occupancy as it had been expected but soon it began to loose audience and ultimately proved itself to be a flop. In 1986, Filmfare enrolled it in the listicle of Ten Most Dissappointing Films of 1985. In fact, this is the film that brought the rack and ruin to her Bollywood career. But it was again Tarun Majumder who again cast her in his Bhalobasa Bhalobasa (1985) which in collaboration with the untimely death of Mahua Roychoudhry in 1985 turned Debasree Roy into the brand new numero uno of Bengali cinema. She got flooded with offers from producers and directors. Her chemistry with Tapas Paul was most notable.
In 1987, she acted opposite Prosenjit in Bimal Ray’s Samrat O Sundari. This is the film that turned their chemistry into a brand new groovy one. And walk the line. You will get a row of Prosenjit-Debasree hits like Devi-Varan (1988), Jhankar (1989), Ahankar (1991), Raktelekha (1992), Shraddhanjali (1993) ending into Unishe April (1996), the last release of Debasree-Prosenjit pairing. After they got seperated in 1995, Debasree Roy found it emotionally hard to work opposite Prosenjit. In fact Prosenjit had always wanted to act with Debasree but it was her actually, who declined all the offers with the actor leaving Rituparna Sengupta an ample scope for a reinforcing career and Rituparna Sengupta was no fool. She was desperate to step into Debasree Roy’s shoe. She rushed on to fit into the shoe left by Debasree.
In 1996, Rituparna Sengupta had five releases. In 1997, her releases were over fifteen releases. In 1998 too, she had around fifteen releases. Debasree too managed to keep her career steady with films like Jiban Jouban (1997), Putrabadhu (1998), Sundar Bou (1999), Asukh (1999), Debanjali (2000) to name a few.
Unlike Rituparna Sengupta who keeps acquiring substantial roles from big banners even at her forties, Roy is averse to self-promotion. This has been considered as a major factor for roles not coming to her.