Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Apu bids goodbye

  • Soumitra Sen, the tallest actor,  is no more
  • Like S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, the Bengali superstar succumbs to Covid-19
  • He is a complete actor and more

Bengali superstar Soumitra Chatterjee who breathed his last on Sunday, 25 November 2020, was an all rounder with distinguished accomplishment. He was the tallest among the Indian actors. He had the rare experience of acting in 14 films directed by famous Bengali Satyajit Ray. Being a favorite of Ray gave him an immense advantage that helped him attained fame across the world. His debut film was ‘Apur Sansar.’

Multi-faceted actor

Such a multi-faceted thespian had lost his battle with Covid. He was hospitalized on 6 October 2020 when he tested positive. Subsequent tests for Covid virus showed  negative but the damage done in the first phase had eaten into the vitals of his body. It destroyed the nerve system and affected all the organs in the body. News of his demise was not entirely unexpected but the legion of fans of the legend worldwide skipped their dinner on knowing about it. Just like S.P. Balasubrahmanyam passed away after staying in the ICU for many weaks, Soumitra also gave up after a prolonged fight.

Unconventional actor

The Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, Soumitra, was an all rounder. He acted as a hero and also a villain. He played the role of a father and and a villaing  while acting as a hero. As the Telugus had Akkineni Nageswara Rao and NTR, the Bengalis also have the duo of  Uttam Kumar and Soumitra Chatterjee. Akkineni was image-conscious. He refused to play many roles thinking that it would adversely affect his image. One of the roles he rejected was that of Girisham in the play ‘Kanyasulkam’  written by Gurajada Appa Rao. The role went to NTR who not only lived in it doing full justice, he also went on to behave in an untraditional manner.  Same way, Uttam Kumar was conscious of his image while Soumitra was playing any and every role that came his way. Within two years of acting as Apu, he accepted the role of a villain. He was more actor than hero.

Active on the stage as well

Soumitra was not confined to the silver screen. He was equally active on the stage. He used to say it is difficult for him to imagine his life without the stage. He also acted in the films directed by Tapan Sen, Tarun Mazumdar, Dinen Gupta and others. He acted both in popular movies and the art ones. He had worked with unconventional directors like Aparna Sen, Goutam Ghose, Tituaparno Ghosh and others as well. The path-breaking acting talent exhibited by new arrivals in Bollywood such as Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Ayushmann Khurrana was initiated by Soumitra.

Painter, writer too

Soumitra acted in more than 300 films.  He was also a good painter, writer, stage playwright and music director. Legendary  Soumitra was never a victim of hubris. He was simple and was available to everybody who wanted to meet and greet him.  He was considered a man from the Bengali middleclass family. With his passing away, a legend was lost and the loss is irreparable.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


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