Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee dies at 85 after battle with COVID-19
Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee died on Sunday in Kolkata after a battle with COVID-19. He was 85. Known for his immense contributions to Bengali cinema and for being a frequent collaborator with legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Mr. Chatterjee had tested positive for coronavirus last month and was undergoing hospital treatment. An official statement read as follows: "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." A four-time National Award-winning actor, including a Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient, news of the iconic actor's death has left many in West Bengal and around the country in a state of deep shock, with fans, celebrities and politicians paying their tributes.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived at the hospital soon after hearing the news of Soumitra Chatterjee's death to offer her condolences to the actor's family. Taking to her Twitter page, Ms. Banerjee tweeted, "Feluda’ is no more. ‘Apu’ said goodbye. Farewell, Soumitra (Da) Chatterjee. He has been a legend in his lifetime. International, Indian and Bengali cinema has lost a giant. We will miss him dearly. The film world in Bengal has been orphaned." She further wrote, "Best known for his films with Satyajit Ray, Soumitra Da was conferred with Legion of Honor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Banga Bibhushan, Padma Bhushan & several National Awards. A great loss. Saddened. Condolences to his family, the film fraternity & his admirers across the world."
Best known for his films with Satyajit Ray, Soumitra Da was conferred with Legion of Honor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Banga Bibhushan, Padma Bhushan & several National Awards. A great loss. Saddened. Condolences to his family, the film fraternity & his admirers across the world 2/2— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 15, 2020
Soumitra Chatterjee was admitted to the Belle Vue Clinic hospital in Kolkata on October 6, a day after he tested COVID-19 positive. At the time, he had shown signs of improvement and his condition was described as stable. However, the actor's health began to deteriorate once again as days passed, with a fear of a cancer relapse. He had survived prostate cancer in the past. As part of the COVID-19 treatment, Mr. Chatterjee received plasma therapy to fight the virus and was being attended to by a team of 10 doctors at the Belle Vue Clinic.
Lovingly called as Soumitra Da by his ardent fans, Chatterjee is best known for his association with late reputed filmmaker Satyajit Ray, with whom he made 14 films together, while also being conferred with the Commandeur de l' Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Chevalier of Legion d'Honneur by the Government of France. The late acting icon has also been felicitated with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2004 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna in 2012.
Soumitra Chatterjee made his debut in Satyajit Ray's acclaimed 1959 film Apur Sansar, while also being a part of the acclaimed Pather Panchali trilogy. The two later collaborated in films most notably in Charulata, Devi, Teen Kanya, Ghare Baire and Ganashatru. He also holds the distinction of being the first actor to play the role of Feluda, the detective created by Satyajit Ray, and had portrayed the character in two films directed by Mr Ray - Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath. He has also collaborated with other cinematic icons from West Bengal, including Mrinal Sen in Akash Kusum.
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