Iconic Actor Soumitra Chatterjee Dies At 85; "Apu Said Goodbye," Tweets Mamata Banerjee

Soumitra Chatterjee was taken to Kolkata's Belle Vue Clinic hospital on October 6, a day after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

A file photo of Soumitra Chatterjee from fan-club (courtesy soumitrachattopadhyayo)

Highlights

  • The actor was admitted to the hospital on October 6
  • He was admitted a day after testing positive for COVID-19
  • He later tested negative but had COVID-19 induced encephalopathy

Legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee, star of some of Bengali cinema's finest films, has died. He was 85. Mr Chatterjee tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was taken to hospital. An official statement read: "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." West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived at the hospital soon after Soumitra Chatterjee's death to be with the actor's family. 

In a series of tweets, she wrote: "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. Best known for his films with Satyajit Ray, Soumitra Da was conferred with Legion of Honor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Banga Bibhushan, Padma Bhushan and several National Awards. A great loss. Saddened. Condolences to his family, the film fraternity and his admirers across the world"

Soumitra Chatterjee was taken to Kolkata's Belle Vue Clinic hospital on October 6, a day after he tested positive for the coronavirus. His condition at the time was described as stable. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called to enquire about Mr Chatterjee's health.

Concern about Soumitra Chatterjee's health grew as days passed, particularly a fear of a cancer relapse - the actor had survived prostate cancer. Mr Chatterjee, who received plasma therapy to fight the virus, was attended by a team of 10 doctors from Belle Vue Clinic.

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Soumitra Chatterjee, Bengal's most celebrated actor, was best-known for his many collaborations with filmmaker Satyajit Ray - they made 14 movies together. He made his debut in Mr Ray's 1959 film Apur Sansar, part of the acclaimed Pather Panchali trilogy. Mr Chatterjee was also directed by Satyajit Ray in Charulata, Devi, Teen Kanya, Ghare Baire, Ganashatru and other films. He was the first actor to play the role of Feluda, the detective created by Satyajit Ray. Soumitra Chatterjee starred as Feluda in two films directed by Mr Ray - Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath.

Soumitra Chatterjee was also directed by other Bengali cinematic greats, including Mrinal Sen in Akash Kusum.

His last big screen outing was 2019's Sanjhbati.

Soumitra Chatterjee's extensive list of awards and honours includes the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna. He received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award - India's top film honour - in 2012. Mr Chatterjee was the winner of three National Awards for his performances in the films Antardhan, Dekha and Padokkhep. In 2018, he received the Legion of Honour by France, the country's top civilian award. In 1989, Satyajit Ray had also received the same award.