Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee died on Sunday from Covid-19 complications in Kolkata. He was 85.
Chatterjee is survived by his wife and two children. He was admitted to the Belle Vue Clinic on October 6. Although he later tested negative for the virus, his condition deteriorated and he stopped responding to treatment, according to his doctors.
The actor’s daughter Poulami Bose confirmed the news on her Facebook account and requested privacy, keeping in mind the prevailing coronavirus pandemic and poor health of family members.
Belle Vue Clinic, the Kolkata hospital where Chatterjee was admitted, confirmed the time of death as 12.15 pm.
“We declare with heavy heart that Shri Soumitra Chattopadhyay breathed his last at 12.15 pm at Belle Vue Clinic today (15 November 2020), ” an official statement from the hospital said, according to India Today. “We pay our homage to his soul.”
Chatterjee’s lengthy association with Satyajit Ray put the actor on the world map. Born on January 19, 1935, Chatterjee appeared in stage productions and worked as an announcer at All India Radio in Kolkata before embarking on his film career. In 1959, he was cast in Ray’s Apur Sansar, the concluding chapter in the Apu trilogy.
Chatterjee’s nuanced performance and magnetic screen presence resulted in 13 more classics with Ray, including Devi (1960), Teen Kanya (1961), Abhijan (1962), Charulata (1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (1971), Ashani Sanket (1973) and Ghare Bhaire (1984).
Chatterjee also worked in the films of other well-known Bengali directors, among them Mrinal Sen (Akash Kusum, 1965) and Tapan Sinha (Kshudhita Pashan, 1960 and Atanka (1986). He amassed over 200 acting credits in his long and fruitful career. Among Chatterjee’s other well-received films were Baghini (1968), Teen Bhuvaner Pare (1969), Koni (1984), Asookh (1999) and Dekha (2001). The 2015 blockbuster Belaseshe, directed by Nandita Roy and Shibhoprasad Mukherjee, reunited him with his Ghare Bhaire co-star Swatilekha Sengupta. In 2019 along, he appeared in four films, including Shesher Golpo. Just before he fell ill, he had wrapped up the shoot of a biopic on him, titled Abhijaan and directed by Parambrata Chattopadhyay.
Chatterjee’s honours included a Padma Bhushan and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. In 2017, the French government gave Chatterjee its highest civilian award, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.