Civilian Awards

Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee gets highest French civilian award

He was conferred the honour 30 years after his mentor, director Satyajit Ray.

Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee received the highest French civilian award, the Legion of Honour, in a ceremony in Kolkata on Tuesday. The insignia of Knight of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur) was conferred on the actor by Alexandre Ziegler, France’s Ambassador to India.

Acclaimed filmmaker and Chatterjee’s mentor Satyajit Ray had received this honour in 1987 from Francois Mitterrand, the President of France at the time. “It is a great privilege for me to witness this,” Ray’s son Sandip told The Indian Express about Chatterjee’s felicitation. “It is a great feeling. Finally, a cycle has been completed after about 30 years.”

Ziegler said France has a lot of love for 83-year-old Chatterjee. “It is an honour and privilege to confer on you the highest French civilian award,” the ambassador said at the ceremony. “You are the most famous and respected Bengali actor in the world. You along with Satyajit Ray are the greatest actor-director duo of the world. France loves you as much as you love France. ”

Chatterjee said he felt honoured, privileged and overwhelmed to receive the award. “I don’t know what to say. All I can say is that I am honoured and privileged and this particular evening is so overwhelming,” he said. “As long as I live I will remember this evening and carry this honour in my heart. I don’t know what I have done to deserve this but I will honour it throughout my life and I pledge to do as much as I can to enhance it.”

In a career spanning almost six decades, Chatterjee has acted in more than 200 films. He debuted with Ray’s Apur Sansar (1959) and went on to work with the director in 14 films, including Charulata (1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (1969) and Sonar Kella (1974). His other notable credits include Akash Kusum (1965), Kshudhita Pashan (1960), Jhinder Bandi (1961), Parineeta (1969), Sansar Simante (1975) and Ganadevata (1978).

Chatterjee has received the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India as well as the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest award in cinema. He has also been given the Commandeur de l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artistes.

Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan have also been conferred the Legion of Honour, in 2007 and 2014 respectively, joining a league of eminent Indians that includes Amartya Sen, Ravi Shankar, Zubin Mehta, Lata Mangeshkar, JRD Tata and Ratan Tata among others.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Can a colour encourage creativity and innovation?

The story behind the universally favoured colour - blue.

It was sought after by many artists. It was searched for in the skies and deep oceans. It was the colour blue. Found rarely as a pigment in nature, it was once more precious than gold. It was only after the discovery of a semi-precious rock, lapis lazuli, that Egyptians could extract this rare pigment.

For centuries, lapis lazuli was the only source of Ultramarine, a colour whose name translated to ‘beyond the sea’. The challenges associated with importing the stone made it exclusive to the Egyptian kingdom. The colour became commonly available only after the invention of a synthetic alternative known as ‘French Ultramarine’.

It’s no surprise that this rare colour that inspired artists in the 1900s, is still regarded as the as the colour of innovation in the 21st century. The story of discovery and creation of blue symbolizes attaining the unattainable.

It took scientists decades of trying to create the elusive ‘Blue Rose’. And the fascination with blue didn’t end there. When Sir John Herschel, the famous scientist and astronomer, tried to create copies of his notes; he discovered ‘Cyanotype’ or ‘Blueprints’, an invention that revolutionized architecture. The story of how a rugged, indigo fabric called ‘Denim’ became the choice for workmen in newly formed America and then a fashion sensation, is known to all. In each of these instances of breakthrough and innovation, the colour blue has had a significant influence.

In 2009, the University of British Columbia, conducted tests with 600 participants to see how cognitive performance varies when people see red or blue. While the red groups did better on recall and attention to detail, blue groups did better on tests requiring invention and imagination. The study proved that the colour blue boosts our ability to think creatively; reaffirming the notion that blue is the colour of innovation.

When we talk about innovation and exclusivity, the brand that takes us by surprise is NEXA. Since its inception, the brand has left no stone unturned to create excusive experiences for its audience. In the search for a colour that represents its spirit of innovation and communicates its determination to constantly evolve, NEXA created its own signature blue: NEXA Blue. The creation of a signature color was an endeavor to bring something exclusive and innovative to NEXA customers. This is the story of the creation, inspiration and passion behind NEXA:

Play

To know more about NEXA, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.