Tollywood: Veteran actor and Dadasaheb Phalke winner Soumitra Chatterjee passes away
Dhaka, November 15: Ending an era in Indian films, veteran actor and Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient Soumitra Chatterjee passed away on Sunday at around 12-15 pm at the Belle Vue Clinic here, according to hospital sources. He was 85.
He battled the deadly coronavirus for days at a private hospital here and turned negative, but finally succumbed to his ailments after almost 40 days' fight. He was on ventilation for the past few days.
"We declare with 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," an official communique from Belle Vue Clinic said.
Chatterjee (or Chattopadhayay in Bengali), who had tested Covid-19, was shifted to an intensive care unit after his Covid-19 symptoms worsened. However, he was declared Covid negative later. But finally the end came on Sunday shortly after noon.
The actor, who was a favourite of maestro Satyajit Ray having starred in his iconic Apu trilogy, and had later earned huge popularity playing Feluda, a private detective character also created by the late Oscar winning filmmaker, is survived by his wife Deepa Chatterjee, a son and a daughter.
Chatterjee, who had started his career in the All India Radio (AIR) as an announcer, made his film debut with Ray's Apur Sansar, which was the third part of Apu trilogy.
Following Apur Sansar, he went on to act in Ray masterpieces like Abhijan, Charulata, Aranyer Din Ratri, Sonar Kella, Joi Baba Felunath, Ghare Baire and Jhinder Bandi.
Chatterjee, who had created his own fan following along with critical acclaim and international recognition, was a hero in many films during a golden period of Bengali cinema in the 1960s and 70s, when his contempoary was late matinee idol Uttam Kumar.
Decades since making his debut, Chatterjee till his last days was relevant as the only surviving Bengali screen icon, with his prolific portrayals in countless commercial and arthouse films.
Some of his recent films which have been widely appreciated are Bela Seshe, Posto, Mayurakshi, Sanjhbati, Basu Poribar, et al.
After months of anti-Covid-19 lockdown, Chattopadhyay had in July resumed shooting for actor-filmmaker Parambrata Chattopadhyay's Abhijaan.
Chatterjee was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in cinema given by the Indian government, in 2012.
He had won two national awards and was in 2004 conferred Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.
Chatterjee was also the first Indian film personality on whom France had conferred the Legion of Honour, the highest French civilian award, in 2018, for his contribution to cinema.