Soumitra Chatterjee (aka Soumitra Chattopadhyay), a Dada Saheb Phalke
awardee and doyen of Bengali cinema died in Kolkata last week. He was
undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kolkata for multiple ailments.
Soumitra was tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020 and was admitted
in Belle Vue Clinic, Kolkata. He was tested negative in the second week of
October and was transferred to non-Covid unit. Initially his condition was
stable but subsequently it started to deteriorate due to other complications. He
was under supervision of a medical team of 16 doctors. He breathed his last on
15th November due to Covid-19 induced encephalopathy at the age of 85.
Soumitra Chatterjee was born in 1935 in Sealdah, Calcutta (now Kolkata). He
started working in theatre during his school days. Mrityunjay Sil, a famous
theatre personality at that point of time was his friend, philosopher and guide.
Chatterjee started his career with All India Radio as an announcer and also
kept pursuing a career in films. His film journey started in 1959 with Satyajit
Ray’s cult classic Apur Sansar (The world of Apu). Incidentally, Sharmila
Tagore, the lead actress also debuted with this film. Satyajit Ray and Soumitra
Chatterjee, thereafter, worked together in 14 films including The Apu Trilogy.
SOUMITRA CHATTERJEE was a versatile Actor
He was a multi-faceted personality. Besides being an actor, he was
playwrighter, director, writer and poet and worked with other leading
directors of Bengali cinema viz. Mrinal Sen, Asit Sen, Tapan Sinha and worked
in more than 200 films. His first directorial film Stree ki Patra (1986) was
based on a short story by Rabindra Nath Tagore. Soumitra Chatterjee was
highly honoured film personality. Besides Dada Saheb Phalke award (2012),
he was also awarded Padma Bhushan (2004) and Sangeet Natak Academy
award (1998). The French government in 1999 awarded its highest award for
arts to Soumitra Chatterjee. There is a long list of awards and honours given to
Soumitra Chatterjee during his lifetime. It’s interesting to know that he
refused Padma Shri in 1970 awarded by Government of India.
The entire film fraternity across India mourned the death of Soumitra
Chatterjee. President Ram Nath Covind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West
Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and leading film personalities
including Amitabh Bachchan, Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore and son of Satyajit
Ray paid their condolences to the departed soul through their tweets. Bengali
cinema has lost one of its most prolific actor and human being. He is survived
by his wife Deepa and 2 children, daughter Poulmi Bose and son Sougata