Bengal’s iconic actor leaves behind a wealthy legacy

He earned sobriquet of Ray’s alter ego 

Nonika Singh

The doyen of Bengali cinema, Soumitra Chatterjee, breathed his last in Kolkata on Sunday after battling post-Covid complications, leaving the world of cinema poorer.

He is best known for his association with Satyajit Ray with whom he worked in over 14 films. It is believed that Ray especially made the third part of his famous “Apu” trilogy after having met Soumitra.

Soumitra began his filmy career with “Apur Sansar” in 1959. He played “Feluda”, Ray’s character from his detective book series, in “Sonar Kella” and “Joi Baba Felunath”. Soumitra was also directed by thespians Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Tarun Majumdar.

His pan India presence may have been felt as recent as 2015 with short film “Ahalya”, which created a stir and went viral. Director Sujoy Ghosh admitted that the real reason for making the film was to seize the opportunity to work with a great actor like Soumitra.

A master-class in acting, his fan list includes brilliant actors like Naseeruddin Shah. If as an actor he could say the same line in 20 different ways, off screen he could not only recite Tagore and other poets, but also write many a sterling poem. He had dozens of books to his credit.

His biopic is likely to throw greater light on his journey and achievements dotted with honours such as Padma Bhushan, Dadasaheb Phalke and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artistes.

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