Sunday, January 26, 2014

Soumitra Chatterjee

Soumitra Chatterjee or Soumitra Chattopadhyay (Shoumitro Chôṭṭopaddhae; born 19 January 1935) is an iconic Bengali film and stage actor and a poet from India, known among other things for his frequent collaborations with the great Bengali film director Satyajit Ray and his constant comparison with the Bengali screen idol Uttam Kumar.



 Soumitra was born in Krishnanagar in West Bengal, 100 km from Calcutta, in 1935. Soumitra and his family moved to Howrah and Calcutta during his early years. Soumitra graduated from the City College, Kolkata with honours in Bengali literature, as a graduating student of the University of Calcutta. He has lived for a number of years in Calcutta in Satyajit Ray's old apartment. He studied for his M.A. in Bengali from the University of Calcutta. He worked in All India Radio before pursuing a career in films.




A living legend on his own terms, Soumitra has received the 'Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest award for arts given by the French government, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Italy. He turned down the honorary Padma Shri award from the Indian government in the 1970s; in 2004, he accepted the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the President of India. He has been the subject of a full-length documentary named Gaach by French film director Catherine Berge.
In a gesture of protest against the National Film Awards committee's bias in awarding popular and mainstream cinema, he turned down the 2001 Special Jury Award for Best Actor. However, on 9 June 2008, he was awarded the 2007 National Film Award for Best Actor by the Government of India. On 3 May 2012, he was selected by the Government of India to be honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.


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