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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Soumitra Chatterjee : One of The Finest Bengali Actor Of India.

Soumitra Chatterjee or Soumitra Chattopadhyay (Born 19 January 1935) 
Is an iconic Bengali actor from India, known among other things for his frequent collaborations with the great Bengali film director Satyajit Ray .

Work with Satyajit Ray
Soumitra's film debut came in 1959 in Satyajit Ray's Apur Sansar. As noted on the official website for Ray, "At that time, Soumitra Chatterjee was a radio announcer and had only played a small role in a Bengali stage production." Soumitra would eventually collaborate with Ray on fourteen films. His centrality to Ray's work is akin to other key collaborations in the history of cinema — Mifune and Kurosawa, Mastroianni and Fellini, De Niro and Scorsese, DiCaprio and Scorsese, Max von Sydow and Ingmar Bergman, Jerzy Stuhr and Kieślowski. He also worked with Sharmila Tagore in a number of Ray films.

Soumitra Chatterjee With Sharmila Tagore in Saytajit Ray `s Film "Apur Shansar"

Saumitra Chatterjee is one of the most talented actor and probably the most acknowledged one internationally from Bengal. The later is due to his appearance in many of Satyajit Ray's movies. He is to the films of Satyajit Ray what Toshiro Mifune was to the films of Akira Kurosawa or Marcello Mastroianni to Federico Fellini. Saumitra appeared in 15 of the 34 films made by Ray.

Soumitra Chatterjee as Apu
Born in 1935, Saumitra graduated from Calcutta University with honors in literature. First appeared in film in 1959; it was Apu-r Sansar (The World of Apu), the final film of Satyajit Ray's 'Apu Trilogy'. Saumitra acted in the role of a young man 'Apu' who experiences the turmoil of life. His work in this film gave him a distinct place in the heart of cinema lovers. This place was evenly firmed when he portrayed the ever popular character of Feluda in Ray's thriller Sonar Kella in the mid seventies. Ray made three films based on the works of Tagore and incidentally Saumitra acted in all of them - Charulata, Samapti (in Teen Kanya) and Ghare Baire.

Soumitra Chatterjee as Feluda with His assistant Topse and Lalmohon in Satyajit Ray`s Film "Sonar Kella"
Soumitra Chatterjee as Feluda in Satyajit Ray`s Film "Sonar Kella"

Other Activities of Soumitra Chatterjee:
Saumitra acted with other prominent film directors such as Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha. Saumitra displayed same level of excellence in regular commercial movies as well as in parallel film.
                Saumitra acts, writes and directs plays in Bengali theatre. He had the honor of sharing stage with legendary stage personalities like Sisir Kumar Bhaduri in the early days (role of Suresh in Prafulla) of his career. Saumitra reads and writes poetry and has a distinct place in the arena of Bengali poetry recitation. He also acts in television and in folk dramas (Jatra s).

Poem Recitation By Soumitra Chatterjee
Soumitra Chatterjee performing at Stage
              Saumitra received the 'The Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest award for arts from France, lifetime achievement award from Italy. He is probably the only Indian actor to have a full-length documentary devoted to him by any Westerner - French director Catherine Berge made a documentary film titled 'Tree' on his life. He refused 'Padmasree' from India Govt. in the seventies. Recently he was awarded with 'Padma Bhusan' by President of India. But the best award for him is probably the love and the special place in the heart of film lovers. Our Whole generation grew up with his played Characters Like "APU" "FELUDA" .

Soumitra Chatterjee received a standing ovation at the staging of "Raja Lear" in Kolkata on Sunday. "As long as my body and mind permits, I will continue to perform this way," Chatterjee says..

Soumitra Chatterjee : Performing "Raja Lear " at stage
Soumitra Chatterjee : Raja Lear

Awards and recognitions:
A living legend on his own terms, Soumitra has received the 'Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest award for arts given by the French government, and a lifetime achievement award from Italy. He turned down the honorary Padma Shri award from the Indian government in the 1970s; in 2004, he accepted the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the President of India. He has been the subject of a full-length documentary named Gaach by French director Catherine Berge.
In a gesture of protest against the National Film Awards committee's bias in awarding popular and mainstream cinema, he turned down the 2001 special jury award for best actor. However, on 9 June 2008, he was selected for the 2007 National Film Award for Best Actor by the Government of India. On 21 March 2012, he was selected by the Government of India for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

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