Megastar Amitabh Bachchan extended his final tribute to veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee on social media on Sunday. Chatterjee breathed his last in a Kolkata hospital on Sunday. He was 85. Soumitra was admitted to the hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 on October 6.
Sharing a picture of himself along with Soumitra Chatterjee on his Facebook handle, Bachchan remembered the legendary actor, he wrote: Soumitra Chatterjee .. an iconic legend .. one of the mightiest pillars of the Film Industry, .. has fallen .. a gentle soul and abundant talent .. last met him at the IFFI in Kolkata .. Prayers ..”
Earlier in the day, many bollywood and Bengali celebrities such as Anil Kapoor, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen, Sayani Gupta, Anupam Kher, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Divya Dutta, Nadita Das, Shabana Azmi, Onir, Rahul Bose, Ranvir Shorey, Soha Ali Khan, Mohanlal, Renuka Shahane, Pritam, Tillotama Shome, Richa Chadha, Adil Hussain and many others paid him tribute on social media.
Country’s prime minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor also expressed their grief over social media.
Chatterjee was cremated with full state honours in Kolkata on the evening of 15 November. Chatterjee’s body was kept at the Rabindra Sadan in the afternoon from 3.30pm to 5.30pm so that his fans, friends, and extended family members could pay their last respects. Hundreds of people gathered at the venue and followed Chatterjee’s funeral procession.
The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also joined the procession and walked the distance from Rabindra Sadan to the Keortala crematorium.
The legend, known for his collaborations with Satyajit Ray, was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, besides winning three National Film Awards.
Born on January 19, 1935, Soumitra Chatterjee learned acting from noted theatre personality Ahindra Choudhury. After initially getting rejected for the role of ‘Apu’, Chatterjee finally made his acting debut with Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’ (1959), which was the third part of the Apu Trilogy. The two eventually worked on fourteen films including ‘Abhijan’, ‘Charulata’, ‘Kapurush’, ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’, ‘Ashani Sanket’, ‘Sonar Kella’ and ‘Joi Baba Felunath’.
Chatterjee also had successful collaborations with Bengali directors like Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha. Sen’s Akash ‘Kusum’ (1965) and Sinha’s ‘Jhinder Bandi’ (1961) got Chatterjee equal laurels. Among contemporary filmmakers, Chatterjee teamed up with Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen, Anjan Das and Rituparno Ghosh among others.
In a career spanning 60 years, Soumitra Chatterjee acted in more than 200 films. Outside films, Soumitra was active in Kolkata-based Bengali theatre too. As a writer, he even published 12 poetry books.