Bengali actress Lolita Chatterjee died in Kolkata at the age of 81, according to a Times of India report. She had been admitted to a nursing home after suffering a cerebral stroke. She died at 2.35pm on Wednesday, the newspaper reported.
Chatterjee’s final screen appearance was in Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s upcoming feature Jonaki. She made her debut as a child actor in Ananya in 1949 and as an adult in the movie Bibhas in 1964 with Uttam Kumar. Alongside film appearances, she also appeared in several jatra productions.
Chatterjee hailed from a family of academics and writers in Kolkata. Her credits during the 1960s and ’70s include small roles in the Hindi movies Raat Andheri Thi, Aap Ki Kasam, Talaash, Victoria No 203 and Pushpanjali. She also acted in Bengali folk theatre productions in the ’70s and early ’80s, and returned to the screen in Goutam Ghose’s Shunyo Awnko in 2013. Chatterjee starred in Arindam Sil’s Aaschhe Abar Shabor in 2018. In Jonaki , she plays a woman who revisits her past and her relationships.
In an interview with Scroll.in in January, Chatterjee revealed that she agreed to act in Jonaki on the strength on Sengupta’s acclaimed dialogue-free debut, Asha Jaoar Majhe, in 2014. She said, “I would sometimes ask myself and others, what am I doing? What does it mean? They said, go and ask the director. It went a little bit above my head, though I acted in it.”
Chatterjee also revealed the story behind her screen name, Lolita (she was born Runu): “When I was shooting for my second movie, a few journalists met me at the studio and asked me, what name should we use for you? I was reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and it suddenly struck me. Call me Lolita, I said. That’s how it happened.”