Actor Soumitra Chatterjee, 82, will be honoured with France’s highest civilian award, Legion of Honor. The award will be presented to the Kolkata-based actor by the Ambassador of France to India Alexandre Ziegler. Talking about the honour, Chatterjee said, “At this age, awards do not hold a great attraction. But I should say this award is slightly special as it comes from a country that is known for its cultural richness and artistic excellence.”
Three decades ago, this top French honour was presented to auteur Satyajit Ray, under whose direction Chatterjee has done 14 movies. The actor features in some of Ray’s most talked about movies such as Apur Sansar (1959), the last film in the famous Apu trilogy, Charulata (1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (1969) and Sonar Kella (1974).
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient still makes regular big-screen appearances. The most recent ones are Bela Sheshe (2015) and Posto (2017). When asked about what has sustained the passion for acting in him for the last five decades, Chatterjee said: “This is my world. This is my life. I have no other option. Not that what I am doing is something extraordinary. In my family, there were people living up to their 80s and 90s. They have carried on with their work as I am doing mine. If I do not go on working, I am afraid that will be the end of my life.”