Being Soumitra Chatterjee | Entertainment News,The Indian Express


Written by Shubhra Gupta
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Updated: November 15, 2020 6:30:41 pm





Soumitra Chatterjee handed away on Sunday on the age of 85. (Express archive picture)

Just a few months again, {a photograph} from 1965 surfaced on social media platforms, and inside minutes, it went viral. It had 4 stunning folks, posing on the purple carpet at that 12 months’s Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival), at which Satyajit Ray’s interval traditional Charulata gained the Best Director prize, and Madhur Jaffrey obtained the Best Actress for James Ivory’s Shakespeare-wallah, whose music was scored by Ray.

In the body, flanking Felicity Kendal and Jaffery, resplendent respectively in robe and sari, have been two very swish gents: Shashi Kapoor in a sherwani, and Soumitra Chatterjee in a bandhgala, competing equally on the dapper-and-debonair stakes. The clean-cut Kapoor’s dimpled allure was a well-known factor, but it surely was Chatterjee, a cigarette held to his lips, wanting impossibly good-looking, who took our collective breaths away. It was onerous to consider that this glamour-oozing Chatterjee was the identical particular person we had grown up watching, completely embodying the everyman in movie after movie.

The factor is, Chatterjee himself could have quirked a disbelieving eyebrow at that red-carpet look, as he was satisfied he was ‘not very photogenic’. Whether that was a forgivable conceit of a legendary actor revered by legions of followers, or that he genuinely believed himself to be extraordinary wanting, was by no means contested, as a result of it got here from a person whose sincerity was by no means in query. Right from his 1959 debut Apur Sansar, the ultimate a part of Satyajit Ray’s iconic Apu trilogy (after Pather Panchali and Aparajito), Chatterjee’s high quality of sincerity was his most abiding trait, and it held him in strong stead via his profession.

Of course, it needed to be Ray who gave Chatterjee his first movie. Between the 2 males, there was a startling similarity of thought, which they constructed upon with every movie. The director with an unerring eye for creating immediately plausible landscapes and characters, wanted a number one man who matched the setting, and in Chatterjee, Ray discovered precisely who he was on the lookout for. Their lengthy, fruitful collaboration resulted in 14 memorable options, which embody, aside from Apur Sansar, Charulata, Ghare Baire, Aranyer Din Ratri, the Feluda movies (Sonar Kella and Joi Baba Felunath), Ashani Sanket, Hirak Rajar Deshe and Ganashatru, amongst others.

From Express Archives | Ray was possessive of me, like a father is of his son: Soumitra Chatterjee

Watching Apur Sansar at the moment, almost 60 years after it was made, is a present. It offers us a director beginning his journey of being in excellent sync along with his actor, via the discernible rhythms they arrange. In ‘My Years With Apu’, Ray writes about how he handed on Chatterjee, then ‘a radio announcer but with an intense interest in acting’, for the adolescent Apu in Aparajito as a result of he seemed ‘too old’. “He was then 20 and just out of college, so I sent him away. Then I sent for him again, and offered him the lead role in ‘Apur Sansar’.” An early scene, wherein the penniless, jobless Apu is utilizing a fly-flecked mirror on a wall to shave, is finished with economic system: a landlord demanding his dues enters the body, Apu fends him off; the owner leaves, snapping off the light-switch; Apu walks as much as the door, switches it again on, greeting the sunshine with the faintest trace of smile. Round one, to Apu.

Soumitra Soumitra Chatterjee in Apur Sansar. (Express archive picture)

This playfulness was a part of Chatterjee’s arsenal, particularly when essaying the a part of Feluda, the beloved sleuth. We see Chatterjee donning a sequence of outlandish disguises, sporting patently false-looking beards, and fixing quirky circumstances with the assistance of his two devoted associates, and it’s all loads of enjoyable. In a really completely different movie, Aranyer Din Ratri ( 1970), the place he’s one in all 4 younger males, clearly essentially the most refined in his spiffy darkish shades, this streak reveals up once more, most clearly when he’s attempting his luck with the beautiful Sharmila Tagore in her very up-to-the-minute bouffant up-dos and cat-eyed liners.

Chatterjee’s personal deep sense of innate decency seeped into a few of his most advanced characters, particularly in his enjoying of Ray’s interlopers, who act as disrupters within the households they enter, extra so in Charulata, than in Ghaire Baire. Both are chamber items primarily based on works of Rabindranath Tagore, each take a look at the upliftment of ladies, and in each Chatterjee reveals up because the third wheel. As the youthful, poetry-loving Amal, who has far more in frequent along with his sister-in-law Charulata, than her husband, and because the revolutionary Sandip in Ghare Baire, who attracts his greatest pal Nikhilesh’s spouse Bimala, along with his fiery beliefs and animation, each characters are proven entering into forbidden territory, however neither crosses the road.

Soumitra Chatterjee (1935-2020): A pictorial tribute to the legendary actor

Chatterjee labored with a clutch of different revered administrators too: in Mrinal Sen’s Aakash Kusum ( 1965), he’s a middle-class govt attempting, duplicitously, to higher his station. In Tapan Sinha’s Kshudhita Pashan (1960), primarily based on a Tagore story, he performs a tax collector posted in a small-town, grappling with haunted constructing, and outdated wives tales. And, sure, he has famously sung-and-danced too, in Teen Bhubaner Pare (1969), directed by Ashutosh Bandyopadhyay: that lilting track “Jiboney ki paabo na” invariably finds its manner into any boisterous guitar-strumming-sing-along get-togethers even at the moment, and never simply in Bengali households.

GHARE BAIRE Soumitra Chatterjee and Satyajit Ray on the units of Ghaire Baire. (Express archive picture)

But there was little question in his thoughts, in addition to ours, that his work with Ray is what gave him wings, and that’s the physique of labor we bear in mind him most for. There was only one function that received away from him, although: he didn’t get the coveted lead in Nayak, which went to Uttam Kumar, whose pole place as Bengal’s massively widespread star remained unchallenged by Chatterjee’s robust however quieter presence. If you needed to forged somebody whom delirious younger girls would throw themselves at, whom would you select? Ray was proper to go for Uttam Kumar because the charismatic matinee idol, and although Chatterjee at all times claimed he understood why, his phrases have been laced with a tinge of remorse.

Read | Soumitra Chatterjee passes away |  Celebrities mourn demise of Soumitra Chatterjee | Till the end, Tollywood tried to live up to the phenomenon called Soumitra Chatterjee

Chatterjee’s lengthy years as a performer, each on stage (he was in theatre earlier than he got here to the flicks, and continued proper via) and on display screen, have been studded with awards: two National awards, the Padma Bhushan, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Dadasaheb Phalke award. He was additionally the primary Indian actor to obtain the French Legion of Honour. But he wore his honours calmly, and continued to work, in some movies which have been good, some not-so good. In 2015’s Belaseshe, a high-on-melodrama household drama, he was the marquee identify alongside along with his Ghare Baire co-star Swatilekha Sengupta. When requested why he did sure movies, he would say, with grace, that he was simply doing his job: appearing, in any case, is quite a lot of jobbery. And that’s what he was, an actor at work, proper until the tip.

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