KOLKATA: Iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee died on Sunday after an over-a-month-long battle with multiple ailments, a statement issued by the hospital, where he was undergoing treatment, said. He was 85 and is survived by wife Deepa Chatterjee, daughter Poulomi Basu and son Sougata Chatterjee.
He was admitted to the hospital on October 6 after he tested positive for the infection. He was later shifted to ICU as COVID encephalopathy set in, affecting his central nervous system and causing renal dysfunction. He recovered from the infection, but his health condition did not improve, despite several plasma therapies, dialysis and tracheotomy. Doctors had on November 13 said that he stopped responding to treatment.
President Ram Nath Kovind paid his tribute to the veteran Bengali actor and wrote on Twitter, “Soumitra Chatterjee’s performances won him several national and international awards including Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Bhushan and Légion d’Honneur. Condolences to his family, the film fraternity and millions of fans across the world.”
“With the passing of Soumitra Chatterjee, Indian cinema has lost one of its legends. He will be specially remembered for the ‘Apu’ trilogy and other memorable performances in Satyajit Ray’s masterpieces. He made immense contribution to the craft of acting,” President Kovind wrote in another tweet.
PM Modi expressed his condolence on his demise and tweeted, “Shri Soumitra Chatterjee’s death is a colossal loss to the world of cinema, cultural life of West Bengal and India. Through his works, he came to embody Bengali sensibilities, emotions and ethos. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrote, “Deeply pained to learn about the demise of legendary Soumitra Chatterjee ji. An iconic actor, who took Bengali cinema to new heights. In Soumitra Da, Indian silver screen has lost a gem. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and countless followers. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and minister Indranil Sen rushed to Belle Vue Clinic after the news broke. “International, Indian and Bengali cinema have lost a legend today. It is a sad day for Bengal today. He will be cremated with full honours and a gun-salute,” Mamata said.
Several actors and directors, who have worked with the Dada Saheb Phalke awardee, mourned his demise. Mentored by Oscar award-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray, the thespian will go down in history as the last of the Mohicans of the golden era of Indian celluloid who along with Ray took Bengali cinema to the world.
“He was an actor par excellence. Our families have bonded so well over the past 60 years. He was meticulous about everything… A perfectionist,” film director Sandip Ray, son of Satyajit Ray, said.
His co-actor in several films, Aparna Sen said Chatterjee was family to her. “I still can’t believe that he is no longer with us. I had hoped till the last that a miracle would happen,” Sen, who marked her debut opposite Chatterjee in ‘Teen Kanya’ anthology, said.