Bimal Roy was born on 12th July 1909 in Dhaka, East Bengal, British India (now Bangladesh). He came from a well to do Bengali family.
He entered the field of cinema as a camera assistant with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd. During this time, he assisted director P.C. Barua on the hit 1935 movie Devdas, starring K. L. Saigal and Mukti (1937). His first film as Director was Udayer Pathey (1944) in Bengali, which was remade as Humrahi (1945) in Hindi. The film was a big critical success.
Bimalda migrated to Bombay after the collapse of New Theatres. His first film there was Maa (1952) for Bombay Talkies. He then made Parineeta (1953) based on a Sarath Chandra story before forming his own production unit and making his blockbuster film, Do Bigha Zameen (1953). It was projected with sympathy and simplicity. The film followed the travails of a poor farmer who migrates to the city and works as a rickshaw puller to make ends meet and earn money to get his land back from the moneylender. The film faced a moderate commercial success and a huge critical success and won him awards at Cannes and at the Karlovy Vary Film Festivals.
Bimalda adapted another Sarath Chandra story Biraj Bahu (1954) before Devdas (1955). Devdas in spite of having its moments however was not too successful commercially and so Bimalda turned to two films - Madhumati (1958), a reincarnation drama and Yahudi (1958). Both the films were smash hits and it’s music is extremely poular even today. The former, written by Ritwik Ghatak was brilliantly photographed with much of it outdoors unlike most Ghost stories. Salil Choudhury came up with perhaps his best ever musical score and the sweet melody Aaja re Pardesi was considered by Lata Mangeshkar among her ten best songs ever. Bimal Roy's two films with Nutan, Sujata (1959), dealing with caste prejudice while Bandini(1963) is considered to be by many his finest work. The film conveys the story of a woman prisoner charged with murder. In between he did two films Parakh (1960) and Prem Patra (1962) both starring Sadhana. Parakh looks at how greed and money affect the behavior of people. Parakh went on to win for Bimal Roy yet another award making it a hat-trick following Madhumati and Sujata the previous two years. Bimalda's last production before he died was Benazir (1964) directed by S. Khalil. He passed away on 7th January 1966, in Mumbai after a long illness.
Bimal Roy has won a total of 7 Filmafare Best Director Awards. 1953 - for Do Bigha Zameen 1954 – for Parineeta 1955 – for Biraj Bahu 1958 – for Madhumati 1959 – for Sujata 1960 – for Parakh 1963 – for Bandini
Recently Bimalda's son Joy Bimal Roy has made a short film - Images of Kumbh Mela out of footage that Bimalda had shot in 1960. The footage was thought to be lost but accidently discovered by Joy last year. The footage more than reaffirms Bimalda's genius and mastery as a filmmaker.