Legendary Actor Soumitra Chatterjee’s Movie Journey with Director Satyajit Ray
Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee passed away at the age of 85, on November 15, 2020. He was hospitalised and fought a long battle with Covid-19 complications after testing positive on October 6th.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award-winner was the most prominent face of Satyajit Ray’s films. Ray launched him in Apur Sansar, the final film of the Apu Trilogy in which he played the title role of Apu. At that time, the veteran Bengali actor was a radio announcer and had only played a small role in a Bengali stage production.
The 85-year-old actor was associated with Ray for a period of over three decades and has done 15 films with the filmmaker. He played a variety of roles in Ray’s films and became one of the finest actors in Bengali cinema. Chatterjee has worked with numerous filmmakers including Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, Asit Sen and Ajoy Kar. Starting with the Apur Sansar, let’s have a look at some of his films with Satyajit Ray.
Charulata (1964) -The film is based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, Nastanirh (The broken Nest). The film revolves around Charulata / Charu played by Madhabi Mukherjee, the childless, intelligent and beautiful wife of Bhupati. Chatterjee played the role of Amal, Bhupati’s younger cousin.
Devi (1960) - The film is based on a short story by Provatkumar Mukhopadhyay and set in 1860 at Chandipur in rural Bengal. The film stars Sharmila Tagore and Soumitra Chatterjee.
Teen Kanya(1961)- It was an Indian Bengali anthology film based upon short stories by Rabindranath Tagore. The film features Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna and Kanika Majumdar.
Ghare Baire (1984)- Like most of Ray’s films, this film is also based on the novel of the same name by Rabindranath Tagore. Along with Soumitra Chatterjee, Victor Banerjee, Jennifer Kendal and Swatilekha Chatterjee are also seen in the film. The film also bagged the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali.
Ganashatru (1990)- The film was an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1882 play An Enemy of the People. It was released under that title in the UK. Chatterjee can be seen in the role of a doctor who had been proclaimed an enemy of the people in the film.
Apart from these, Chatterjee is the first actor to play the role of one of the most memorable characters of Bengali Cinema, Feluda, the detective created by Ray. He essayed the role of Feluda in two films – Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath.