Soumitra Chatterjee dies at 85: ‘A big loss to the world of cinema and art’

Celebrities, politicians, sportspersons and fans pay tribute to legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee.

Actor Soumitra Chatterjee breathed his last in a Kolkata hospital on Sunday. He was 85. Soumitra was admitted to the hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 on October 6.

The legend, known for his collaborations with Satyajit Ray, was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, besides winning three National Film Awards.

Born on January 19, 1935, Soumitra Chatterjee learned acting from noted theatre personality Ahindra Choudhury. After initially getting rejected for the role of Apu, Chatterjee finally made his acting debut with Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar (1959), which was the third part of the Apu Trilogy. The two eventually worked on fourteen films including Abhijan, Charulata, Kapurush, Aranyer Din Ratri, Ashani Sanket, Sonar Kella and Joi Baba Felunath.

Chatterjee also had successful collaborations with Bengali directors like Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha. Sen’s Akash Kusum (1965) and Sinha’s Jhinder Bandi (1961) got Chatterjee equal laurels. Among contemporary filmmakers, Chatterjee teamed up with Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen, Anjan Das and Rituparno Ghosh among others.

India mourns the demise of Soumitra Chatterjee.

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Actor Rahul Bose tweeted, “I grew up watching his films day after day. So working with him in #15ParkAvenue was surreal. He answered all my questions on how it was to work with #SatyajitRay with generosity and warmth. It’s been a privilege, Soumitrada. Rest in peace.”

Richa Chadha posted an image of Soumitra with Satyajit Ray and captioned it, “RIP Soumitra Chatterjee! You live on through your work for eternity! Thank you for the movies. A big, big loss to the world of cinema and art. An era has indeed ended with no one in sight to fill the void.💔”

Bengali actor Ena Saha wrote, “The end of an era.May his soul rest in eternal peace. #SoumitraChatterjee.”

American Indian actor Rachel White tweeted, “Bidding Farewell with a heavy heart to the legendary #SoumitraChatterjee. Prayers and warmth going out to his family and fans world over.”

Actor Sayani Gupta tweeted, “Soumitra Chatterjee, Feluda, leaves us. Numb. An era, one generation, a huge legacy gone. Gave 70 years to the Silver Screen.”

Music composer Jeet Gannguly wrote, “I have no words to express my grief ….! Great loss for Indian and International film industry….Rest in peace Soumitra Chatterji.”

Actor Swastika Mukherjee wrote on Twitter, “This year will take it all. Parents, legends, childhood, nostalgia. All of it. Merciless year.”

Actor Manoj Bajpayee tweeted, “Tragic loss!! Rest in peace Sir!! Your contribution to the Indian Cinema will always be remembered and inspire the generations to come !! 🙏🙏.”

In a career spanning 60 years, Soumitra Chatterjee acted in more than 200 films.

Outside films, Soumitra was active in Kolkata-based Bengali theatre too. As a writer, he even published 12 poetry books.

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