Legend leaves a void in filmdom

Padma Bhushan awardee Soumitra Chatterjee left for the heavenly adobe on Sunday, leaving behind a legacy of his own. PM Modi calls it 'a colossal loss to the world of cinema' while it's 'an end of era' according to Onir

Legend leaves a void in filmdom

The Bengali film industry lost one of its greatest actors, Soumitra Chatterjee, who acted in 14 Satyajit Ray films and over 300 others. The veteran passed away at the age of 85 on November 15 after fighting the novel coronavirus. The industry is shattered as the legend has left an empty void in the filmdom. Celebrities such as Aparna Sen, Rahul Bose, Anil Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee and Richa Chadha poured their hearts out by mourning the "true legend of cinema and theatres".

Remembering a dear friend and co-actor, Aparna Sen said, "Soumitra Chatterjee was family to me. He was my first hero. I was only 14 when we first met. I still cannot believe that he is no longer with us. I am an atheist and I don't pray. But I hoped that a miracle would happen. It did not. I couldn't go to the funeral. I didn't want to see him like this."

Sharmila Tagore, who made her debut in 'Apur Sansar', Soumitra's first film in 1959, recalls her co-star as someone who was well-read, well-informed and erudite. "He was a rare man with an ability to speak on any subject at length. We were hoping that he would recover. I lost a very old friend and a dear friend. He was a very erudite person. I remember listening to him and actor Subhendu Chatterjee as they discussed politics and literature for hours when we were shooting in the outdoor location for Ray's film 'Aranyer Din Ratri'."

Reminiscing the legend, Tisca wrote, "…and the year takes away another gem. RIP Soumitra Chatterjee. Your imprint will stay in the minds, eyes and hearts for a very long time."

Speaking of how he idealized Chatterjee all his life, Rahul Bose tweeted, "I grew up watching his films day after day. So working with him in the film '15 Park Avenue' was surreal. He answered all my questions on how it was to work with Satyajit Ray with generosity and warmth. It has been a privilege for me, Soumitra da. Rest in peace!"

Richa Chadha's tweet read, " RIP Soumitra Chatterjee! You live on through your work for eternity! Thank you for the movies. This is a big, big loss to the world of cinema and art. An era has indeed ended with no one in sight to fill the void"

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra wrote, "Soumitra Chatterjee was a great cinema actor. Unfortunately, the rest of India never gave him his due, but the world did. He was our very own Marcello Mastroianni and perhaps he was the greatest cinema actor of his generation in India. He never obstructed the storytelling and he never called attention to himself. Goodbye, dada!

Filmmaker Onir called it an end of era for Bengali cinema. "There are too many performances of this amazing artist that has enriched our lives for decades to mention a few. The world cinema will celebrate this beautiful man and his art for eternity. Rest in peace Soumitra Chatterjee. You will always be loved and cherished!," he added.

Manoj Bajpayee tweeted, "It is a tragic loss! Rest in peace, sir! Your contribution to Indian cinema will always be remembered and inspire the generations to come!

Anil Kapoor wrote, "He was a legend and an inspiration for all. RIP Soumitra Chatterjee!"

Sandip Ray addressed Chatterjee as a family member and said, "Soumitra Chatterjee shared wonderful chemistry with my father. He gave a lot of thought to the characters my father created. His most favourite was that of Gangacharan in 'Ashani Sanket'. He was so involved in the project that he even pushed the trolley when there was a shortage in man-power one day!"

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri wrote, "Om Shanti Soumitra Chatterjee! I had the pleasure of receiving your affection. I will always cherish these memories. Artists like you never die!"

Giving farewell to the legendary actor, Shabana Azmi wrote, "I had the honour of playing your wife in 'La Nuit Bengali' and your daughter in '15 Park Avenue'. I was with you in Paris and saw the adulation you received at George Pompidou Centre. but you were so nonchalant about it that it left me deeply impressed. RIP!"

Condoling the death of the veteran, Anupam Kher tweeted, "I'm deeply saddened to know about the demise of a legendary actor and one of my favourite Soumitra Chatterjee. I learned so much from his amazingly rich talent and craft. Om Shanti!"

Expressing grief over the loss, Nawazuddin Siddiqui wrote, "It is a huge loss to the world of art and cinema. The great thespian Soumitra Chatterjee buds his last goodbye as he left behind an extremely rich legacy to be cherished forever. Rest in peace!"

Adil Hussain: His graceful presence was always visible on screen in all the roles to remind us of the beauty of life. Soumitra da, my dream to work with you remained unfulfilled. I will catch you on the other unless you hurry back again to this dimension! Lots of love and hugs. Rest for a while in peace now!

Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee said, "Soumitra Chatterjee was a father figure to me personally and his contribution to Bangla rather Indian cinema and theatre will be written in gold letters!

Nandita Das shared a photo of herself with Chatterjee and wrote, " Just when I logged in, after a few days of no news, got the worst one. Soumitra da, an incredibly kind, funny and loving person and a supremely versatile and authentic performer just left us. I'm deeply saddened. I'm so fortunate to have worked with him in the Bengali film 'Paddakhep' and then met many times. COVID-19 is claiming too many precious lives. You will be missed so much Soumitra Chatterjee."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also grieved the demise and wrote, "Soumitra Chatterjee's death is a colossal loss to the world of cinema, cultural life of West Bengal and India. Through his works, he came to embody Bengali sensibilities, emotions and ethos. I'm deeply anguished by his demise. My condolences are with his family and admirers. Om Shanti!"

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