When Jisshu Sengupta Got Nightmares Acting as Soumitra Chatterjee in His Biopic
Jisshu Sengupta (left) and Soumitra Chatterjee
A biopic on Soumitra Chatterjee was being made by actor Parambrata Chatterjee, with Jisshu Sengupta playing the young version of the Bengali cinema icon. Soumitra had finished shooting his part for the biopic before he was admitted to a hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in October, where he died on November 15.
Jisshu Sengupta, while talking about the film in September, had spoken about attempting the rather daunting task - playing the role of Soumitra Chatterjee. What made it an even more scary for Jisshu, is that the 85-year-old icon
himself was part of the film.
"Playing Soumitra Chatterjee in front of him was like a suicidal attempt for me. I was having nightmares,” said Jisshu, who had just wrapped up shooting for the film. “We don’t have scenes together, but he is part of the film. And he will also be watching it. Surprisingly, he was the one who called me up and said that he wants me to play the part. I was shocked.”
Soumitra was one of the biggest stars in Bengali cinema, famous for his collaboration with Satyajit Ray in Apu Trilogy, the Feluda series and several other films. He was also one of the busiest actors in the industry in the past 60 years, having worked in over 200 films. It is understandable why Jisshu would feel nervous trying to step into his shoes onscreen.
“I don’t know what I am doing in the film. After every shot I used to look at Parambrata for approval. ‘Is it okay? Are you sure?’ I kept asking,” he told us.
After the news of Soumitra's demise broke, Parambrata posted on Instagram, "A big piece tears away from my existence today, a precious tie severed. Impossible to articulate how it feels to lose a friend Who also is a teacher. Won’t even try to tread that path. Have been in distant Himachal for the past one month. Can’t be present on his last journey. Guess it’s only befitting of this sorrow, which is to Be observed in silence, in serenity, in solitude."
Soumitra had also consented for an untitled documentary film on various sides of his life as a film actor, stage actor, poet and little magazine editor and painter. Shooting for the docu had begun in the last week of September, and remains unfinished as Soumitra was admitted to the hospital on October 1.