India mourns legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee

Published on : 16/11/2020 – 13:54Modified : 16/11/2020 – 13:52

Calcutta (AFP)

Legendary Indian actor Soumitra Chatterjee received his country’s tribute on Monday the day after his death at the age of 85 after complications related to Covid-19.

Soumitra Chatterjee, who has appeared in some 300 films, was best known for his work with Oscar-winning Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

The actor was hospitalized in early October in Calcutta (East) after testing positive for the coronavirus. Then tested negative, he remained hospitalized because of other health problems resulting from his contamination, according to local media.

His condition deteriorated and he died on Sunday, his daughter Poulami Bose wrote on Facebook.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the death of the iconic actor represented “a colossal loss for the world of cinema and the cultural life of West Bengal and India”.

“International, Indian and Bengali cinema has lost a giant. He will be sorely missed,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

For the megastar Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, himself cured of Covid-19 disease a few months ago, Soumitra Chatterjee was “one of the most powerful pillars of cinema”. And “a noble soul,” he added on Twitter.

Soumitra Chatterjee, whose career spanned some sixty years, was also an accomplished stage actor and wrote plays and poems.

Over the course of some thirty years of collaboration, he starred in 14 films by Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) who had received a few months before his death in 1992 an honorary Oscar for all of his work.

The actor made his film debut in 1959 in the third installment of the Bengali filmmaker’s Apu trilogy, “Apu’s World”.

Among his many Indian and international awards and decorations, Soumitra Chatterjee received in 2012 the Dadasaheb Phalke, the highest award in Indian cinema. France had made him a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2017 and in 1999 he was the first Indian actor to be made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

In Calcutta, thousands of bereaved admirers gathered on Sunday evening near the crematorium where his body was taken, along with candles and portraits of the actor.

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