The veteran actor of Bengali films, Soumitra Chatterjee, is no longer in this world, but his work will always be present. He was a classic example of world cinema, which gave expression to Satyajit Ray's cinematic vision beyond the country, state, and linguistic boundaries, and perfected it on the film screen.
Chatterjee acted in 14 films with Satyajit Ray, but his personality was not limited to Satyajit Ray's aura. Chatterjee has adapted herself to the roles of commercial films with parallel cinema. With this, the world realized its presence as a screenwriter and director.
Memory Remaining: 19 January 1935 - 15 November 2020
Chatterjee, who made his film debut in 1959 with the film Apur Sansar, left an indelible impression on the hearts of the audience with his debut film. In the film, Chatterjee played the character of a widower in mourning. Satyajit Ray's famous Apu trio was completed with this film. Apu Trio's first film was Pather Panchali.
According to film world experts, Chatterjee auditioned for Ray's 'Aparajito' film in 1957, the second film of the Apu trio. But 20-year-old Chatterjee was too old for Satyajit Ray to play the role of Kishore Apu. Even after this, Chatterjee kept in touch with Ray and finally got a chance to play the role of Apu in Apur Sansar.
Father and grandfather were also artists
Chatterjee was born in 1935 in Krishnanagar in Nadia district, where he also did his schooling. His grandfather and lawyer's father first introduced him to acting. Chatterjee's father and grandfather were also artists. Chatterjee received an MA degree in Bengali literature from the University of Calcutta.
Satyajit Ray's favorite actor acted in his films like 'Devi' (1960), 'Abhijan' (1962), 'Aryanar Din Raat' (1970), 'Ghare Byre' (1984), and 'Sakha Prasakha' (1990). The two had a three-decade association with Ray's demise in 1992. He worked with veterans like Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, and Tarun Mazumdar.
Never worked in Bollywood
Despite many offers from Bollywood, he never moved there. Chatterjee believed that if he worked in Bollywood films, his independence for other literary works would end. A fond of yoga, Chatterjee edited the magazine for more than two decades.
He refused to take Padmashree in protest
Chatterjee twice refused to take the Padma Shri award. Apart from this, in 2001, he also refused to take the National Award. He took this step in protest against the jury's stand. Later in 2004, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and in 2006 he also won the National Award for 'Poddokhep'. In 2012, he was honored with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He is survived by his wife Deepa Chatterjee, daughter Polmi Basu and son Saugat Chatterjee.
Film world of Bengal becomes orphaned: Mamta Banerjee
Feluda is no more. Apu said goodbye. Farewell to Soumitra da. He was a legend during his lifetime. International, Indian and Bangla cinema lost a stalwart. We will always remember him. The film world of Bengal became orphaned. - Mamta Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal
Your contribution to the cinema will be remembered: Manoj Bajpayee
irreparable damage. May your soul rest in peace. Your contribution to Indian cinema will always be remembered and will inspire many generations to come.
- Manoj Bajpayee, actor