Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee has died. He was 85. He breathed his last in a hospital in Kolkata. He contracted COVID-19 in October. Although, he recovered from the virus, his comorbidities deteriorated gravely. Saumitra was globally recognised as an artist. He is famous for his frequent collaborations with the late director Satyajit Ray. Chatterjee has worked in as many as 14 films directed by Ray. Saumitra made his debut with the critically acclaimed film, Apu Sansaar. He doesn't know why Ray cast him in so many of his films. Soumitra Chatterjee Dies at 85 After Battling COVID-19.
"He never told me anything. But I think it may be because there was an understanding, our wavelengths matched. He probably knew that I had this hunger to portray different roles and was versatile as an actor. Also, I was easy to mould and could break off from one particular image," he said in an interview.
The actor has starred in Satyajit Ray movies like Charulata, Teen Kanya, Ganashatru, Abhijan. Soumitra also became the face of the Feluda series.
Today, to remember Chatterjee, we recommend the viewers to watch some titles by Ray. We are compiling a list of titles available to watch online.
Soumitra plays Dr Ashok Gupta, who discovers a harmful bacteria in the holy water in the temple of a small town, Bhubanpur. The consumption of the holy water gives rise to jaundice spread in the town among residents and the tourists. The municipality and the temple beneficiaries avoid Gupta from making the information public.
Ashani Sanket (1973)
Based on the novel of the same name, the movie explores the impact of the Great Famine of 1943 on the villages in Bengal. The movie is included in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.
Talking about the film, Soumitra has said, "Manikda had already given me so many kinds of role such as Amulya in Samapti (Teen Kanya, 1961), Narsingh in Abhijaan (1962), Gangacharan in Ashani Sanket (1973), which I could strongly relate to as I come from a small town (Krishnanagar in Nadia district) and had experienced the aftermath of the 1943 Bengal famine."
Teen Kanya (1962)
Teen Kanya is an anthology film directed by Ray. Soumitra starred in the segment called Samapti. The Academy Film Archive preserved the international version of Teen Kanya in 1996.
The movie is based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel The Lonely Nest. Soumitra plays Amal, who develops a friendship with his sister-in-law. She develops romantic feelings for him, but he is unable to reciprocate.
While Soumitra had lauded Ray all his life, the director has rarely returned the praises. The actor felt that it is how the director was coded. "The letter he gave to Cine Central when they held the retrospective ‘Teen doshoker Soumitra’ (Three decades of Soumitra) in 1990 is the ultimate tribute that I can expect: ‘I will have faith in Soumitra till the last day of my creative life.’ I cannot expect anything higher than this in my life," he revealed in an interview.