Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee passed away on Sunday afternoon after battling for his life for 40 days. He had tested positive for COVID-19 last month. He was 85 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
“We declare with a heavy heart that Shri Soumitra Chatterjee breathed his last at 12:15 pm at Belle Vue Clinic today. We pay our homage to his soul,” said a statement from Belle Vue Clinic where he was admitted.
The Dadasaheb Phalke award-winning actor is best known for his collaborations with Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in fourteen films. Soumitra Chatterjee is also the first Indian film personality conferred with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artists. In 2017, exactly thirty years after auteur Satyajit Ray was honoured with France’s highest civilian award, the coveted Legion of Honor, Chatterjee also received the prestigious award.
In a career spanning over six decades, Chatterjee worked with Ray, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and later in his career with Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh.
After making his debut as the adult Apu in Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959), the third part of Apu Trilogy, he went on to work in several notable films with Satyajit Ray, including Abhijan (The Expedition, 1962), Charulata (The Lonely Wife, 1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest, 1969); Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder, 1973); Sonar Kella (The Fortress, 1974) and Joi Baba Felunath (The Elephant God, 1978) as Bengali detective Feluda; Hirak Rajar Deshe(1980), Ghare Baire (The Home and The World, 1984), Shakha Proshakha (1990) and Ganashatru (Enemy of the People, 1989).
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He worked with Mrinal Sen in Akash Kusum (Up in the Clouds, 1965), with Tapan Sinha in Kshudhita Pashan (Hungry Stones, 1960), Jhinder Bandi (1961), Atonko (1984) and with Tarun Majumdar in Sansar Simante (1975), Ganadevata (1978).
He acted in more than 210 films in his career till 2016. He also garnered critical acclaim for his directorial venture Stree Ki Patra (1986) which was based on Streer Patra, a Bengali short story written by Rabindranath Tagore.
In October, Soumitra Chatterjee tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted in Belle Vue Clinic, Kolkata. However, he tested negative after the 2nd Covid-19 test conducted on October 14. In the meantime, his complications (urinary tract infection, fluctuations in sodium potassium levels, etc.) made his condition critical, and he had to be admitted to ITU.
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