An icon of Bengali cinema and theatre, the veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee passed away on Sunday. He had been in critical condition for weeks battling multiple ailments. He was 85 years old.
Earlier in the day, hospital officials said he was in poor health and was on different life support systems.
The critically acclaimed actor was admitted to hospital on October 6 after he tested positive for COVID-19. He recovered from the infection, but his health was deteriorating due to neurological complications and other severe conditions.
Chatterjee began his film acting career in 1959 with Satyajit Ray's Apur Sansar, the third film of the internationally acclaimed Apu trilogy. The partnership between the two grew over the course of 14 notable films by Ray.
He has been in Bengali cinema for more than five decades and was honored by the country with the Padma Bhushan in 2004. He had turned down the Padma Shri award in the 70s. Soumitra Chatterjee has won the National Film Award (2006), the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2012) which is the country's highest honour in the field of cinema and the French Legion of Honour (2018).
The 1935-born actor has been a poet, playwright, translator, elocutionist, theatre director and editor of a reputed literary magazine, Ekshan. He was born in Krishnanagar, 100 km from Kolkata.
Chatterjee's father was a lawyer, government official and a theater activist. His grandfather was also a playwright. Soumitra also got into acting through school plays. Along with completing his education, he learned acting lessons from Ahindra Chaudhary, a playwright and director.
Later, Soumitra became an active presence in films directed by Satyajit Ray. Soumitra has also acted in films by Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, Asit Sen, Ajoy Kumar and Rituparna Ghosh
(edited by Hannah Parveen)