Bengal’s tryst with football: The beautiful game as part of art, drama & music

Here are some of the best films and songs made in Bengal with football as its subject…

Football has always been an integral part of Bengal’s culture as it is the most popular sport in the state. Every Bengali is either a Mohun Bagan or an East Begnal supporter by default and it makes sense that the sport has had influences in movies and art.

Several movies and songs have been created in the Bengali language over the years with football being an integral part, with several of them being a commercial success.

In this article, we take a look at some of the best films and songs created in the state with football being the content.

Movies

Dhanyee Meye (1971)

The movie features Bengal film industry’s yesteryear superstar Uttam Kumar who plays the role of an industrialist who literally eats, sleeps and even dreams about football. His younger brother is an amateur footballer, who along with his team visits a village named ‘Harbhanga’ to play the final of the ‘Harbhanga Shield’. Directed by Arabinda Mukhopadhyay, the Romantic comedy’s primary plot is football and it also has Jaya Bachhan in its central role.

Saheb (1981)

One of the cult cinemas in the genre of sports movies in India, Saheb is about a talented young footballer belonging to a financially constrained family. Saheb isn’t the brightest when it comes to education but is an extremely talented player. Except for his sister, his entire family is against him pursuing the sport. Things dramatically change though when he decides to give up on appearing for the national team and instead sacrifice his career to provide financing for his sister’s marriage.

Directed by Bijoy Basu, the Bengali film has been remade in Hindi in 1986 with the same name and the main character is played by Anil Kapoor.

Mohun Baganer Meye (1976)

This movie, directed by Manu Sen, is about a staunch Mohun Bagan supporter played by Utpal Dutt who is in search of a bride for his son and his only condition is that the would-be daughter-in-law must be a Mohun Bagan fan. Unfortunately, Dutt’s son is already in love with an East Bengal fan girl. The sports comedy also featured P.K Banerjee, Subrata Bhattacharya and Krishanu Dey in cameo roles.

East Bengaler Chele (1995)

East Bengaler Chele, directed by Aloke Bhowmick, is about a young promising footballer, essayed by famous Bengali actor Chiranjeet Chakraborty. His differently able brother makes a lot of sacrifices to support his sibling’s football career and help him become a successful player. The film also had legendary Indian footballer and coach P.K Banerjee in a cameo role.

Egaro (2010)

This is a biopic on Mohun Bagan’s famous IFA Shield triumph in 1911. The Green and Maroons went on to become the first Indian native club to beat a British side and claim a major trophy, that too playing barefoot. This movie, directed by Arun Roy, was a perfect testimony to the historic triumph of the Kolkata giants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc4l0EmF7gk

Lorai (2015)

The film is based on an alcoholic former footballer played by Bengali star Prasenjit Chatterjee. The central character takes up an assignment of training youngsters in a violence-ridden village in Purulia district of Bengal and creates a successful team under difficult circumstances. The name of the film means to fight and is directed by Mushfick Bin Huda.

The film can be watched on Netflix platform.

Songs

Shob Khelar Shera Bangalir Tumi Football (Manna Dey)

Sung by legendary Indian singer Manna Dey, this song featured in the movie Dhanyee Meye. The lyric of the song encapsulates Bengal’s love for football and also speaks about the rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.

Khela Football Khela (Manna Dey)

This is a solo track created as a tribute to the 16 fans who died during the infamous 1980 Calcutta Football League (CFL) Kolkata derby at the Eden Gardens. It was sung by Manna Dey.

Mohun Bagan, East Bengal er Khela Hoyeche (Anup Ghoshal)

This song is from the film Mohun Baganer Meye sung by famous Bengali singer Anup Ghoshal. The lyrics of the song is about the famous Kolkata derby and a tribute to the fandom involving the flagship game of Indian football.

Amader Surjo Maroon (Avik, Arijit Singh)

This song is from the movie Egaro which is based on the Mohun Bagan’s IFA Shield triumph in 1911. This particular song from the movie gained immense popularity among the fans and it was sung by Avik and Arijit Singh.

Eksho Bochor Dhore (Arijit Singh)

This song was made to commemorate the centenary year celebration of another Kolkata giants East Bengal. The song, sung by Arijit Singh, encapsulates the spirit of the club and its fans.

Fatafati Football (Arijit Singh)

This song was ATK’s anthem during the inaugural season of ISL. This carnivalesque song was a major hit amongst the fans.