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Soumitra Chatterjee
সৌমিত্র চট্টোপাধ্যায়

Soumitra Chatterjee
Born January 19, 1935 (1935-01-19) (age 74)
India Krishnanagar, India

Soumitra Chatterjee (Bengali: সৌমিত্র চট্টোপাধ্যায় Shoumitro Chôţţopaddhae) (born 19 January 1935) is a Bengali actor from India, known among other things for his frequent collaborations with the great Bengali film director Satyajit Ray.



Soumitra studied at the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta, graduating with honours in Bengali literature. He has lived for a number of years in Calcutta in Satyajit Ray's old apartment. He passed also M.A. examination in Bengali from the University of Calcutta. He worked in All India Radio before pursuing film career.

Satyajit Ray

Soumitra's film debut came in 1959 in Satyajit Ray's Apur Sansar. As noted on the official website for Ray, "At that time, Soumitra Chatterjee was a radio announcer and had only played a small role in a Bengali stage production" [1]. Soumitra would eventually collaborate with Ray on fourteen films. His centrality to Ray's work is akin to other key collaborations in the history of cinema - Mifune & Kurosawa, Mastroianni & Fellini, De Niro & Scorsese, and Dicaprio & Scorsese. He also worked with Sharmila Tagore in a number of Ray films.

Other work

Besides working with Ray, Soumitra excelled in collaborations with other well-known Bengali directors such as Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha. He played the role of Shekhar in the 1969 Ajoy Kar version of Parineeta. Soumitra has also been active in Bengali theatre as an actor, playwright and director. He is a well-known poetry reciter, and has acted on TV and in indigenous folk drama (jatra).

Honors and awards

A living legend on his own terms, Soumitra has received the 'Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest award for arts given by the French government, and a lifetime achievement award from Italy. He turned down the honorary Padma Shri award from the Indian government in the seventies; more recently, in 2004, he accepted the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the President of India. He has been the subject of a full-length documentary named Gaach by French director Catherine Berge.

In a gesture of protest against the National Film Awards committee's bias in awarding popular and mainstream cinema, he turned down the 2001 special jury award for best actor. However, on 9 June 2008, he was selected for the 2007 National Film Award for Best Actor by the Government of India.

Select filmography

For detailed list, see Filmography of Soumitra Chatterjee

Year Film Role Other notes
1959 Apur Sansar Apurba Kumar Ray (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1960 Devi Umaprasad (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1961 Teen Kanya Amulya (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1961 Jhinder Bondi Mayurbahan (dir. Tapan Sinha)
1962 Abhijan Narsingh (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1964 Charulata Amal (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1965 Kapurush Amitabha Roy (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1965 Akash Kusum Ajay Sarkar (dir. Mrinal Sen)
1969 Parineeta Shekhar (dir. Ajoy Kar)
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri Ashim (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1972 Jiban Saikate (dir. Swedesh Sarkar)
1973 Ashani Sanket Gangacharan Chakravarti (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1974 Sonar Kella Pradosh C. Mitter, a.k.a. Feluda (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1978 Joi Baba Felunath Pradosh C. Mitter, a.k.a. Feluda (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1979 Devdas Debdas (dir. Dilip Roy)
1979 Ganadevata Pandit Debu Ghosh (dir. Tarun Majumdar)
1980 Hirak Rajar Deshe Professor Udayan (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1984 Ghare Baire Sandip (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1987 Sukumar Ray Himself (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1988 The Bengali Night Narendra Sen (dir. Nicolas Klotz)
1989 Ganashatru Dr. Ashoke Gupta (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1990 Shakha Proshakha Proshanto, the 2nd son, a.k.a. "Mezda" (dir. Satyajit Ray)
1991 Mahaprithivi Husband (dir. Mrinal Sen)
1994 The Broken Journey Dr. Sengupta (dir. Sandip Ray)
2004 Shadows of Time Older Ravi dir. Florian Gallenberger
2009 Angshumaner Chhobi Prodyut dir. Atanu Ghosh

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