Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee dies in Kolkata at 85

Iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee died in Kolkata on Sunday. He breathed his last at 12:15 pm at Belle Vue Clinic today. He was 85.

“We declare with a heavy heart that Shri Soumitra Chattopadhyay breathed his last at 12.15 pm at Belle Vue Clinic today (15 November 2020). We pay our homage to his soul,” the hospital said in its statement.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bengal minister Aroop Biswas, Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma rushed to the hospital this afternoon.

CM Mamata Banerjee has announced that Soumitra Chatterjee will be performed with full state honours at Keoratala Crematorium. He will be given a gun salute by the state. At around 2 pm, his mortal remains will leave the hospital for his Golf Green residence and he will be then taken to Technician’s Studio. People will be able to pay their last respects at Rabindra Sadan between 3:30-5:30 pm.

The Dadasaheb Phalke awardee had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital for almost 40 days and his consciousness level went down significantly since Friday. Soumitra Chatterjee had tested positive for coronavirus on October 5 and got admitted to the hospital the very next morning. He had later tested negative for the infection but COVID encephalopathy had set in and various other complications surfaced.

Soumitra Chatterjee’s health condition had worsened in the last couple of days and the doctors said he was not responding at all to treatment.

Soumitra Chatterjee was one of the most Bengal’s most popular stars, best-known for his collaborations with filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He made his film debut in 1959 with Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’. The duo later collaborated for iconic projects such as ‘Charulata’, ‘Devi’, ‘Teen Kanya’ among others. Soumitra Chatterjee acted in 14 films of the maestro.

ALSO READ: Remembering Soumitra Chatterjee, Bengali cinema’s alt superstar

Soumitra Chatterjee became synonymous with the detective character ‘Feluda’ created by Satyajit Ray. Though Feluda’s first appearance was in a series of detective books written by the Oscar-winning film director. Later, the maestro decided to give it a celluloid format and Soumitra Chatterjee played the lead role in all the movies made by Satyajit Ray on Feluda.

He was last seen in 2019’s ‘Sanjhbati’.

Born in Calcutta, West Bengal, in the year 1935, Soumitra Chatterjee graduated from the City College, Kolkata with honours in Bengali literature, post which he did an MA in Bengali from the University of Calcutta. The thespian learnt his acting skills under noted actor-director of Bengali theatre Ahindra Choudhury. Apart from his movies, in his over six decades-long career, he was also known as a noted stage actor, poet and reciter.

Soumitra Chatterjee is survived by wife Deepa Chatterjee, son Sougata and daughter Poulami Bose.

In 2012, he received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He also has two National Film Awards as an actor to his credit. As an actor in Bengali theatre, Soumitra Chatterjee received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1998. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2004. He was also the first Indian film personality conferred with France’s highest award for artists — the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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