Soumitra Chatterjee – the ace actor, orator and theatre artist was born on 19 January 1935 in the small town Krishnanagar in West Bengal. When he was still a child, his parents left Krishnanagar and had to relocate to Kolkata.
In Kolkata he went on to continue his education from the University of Calcutta. He graduated with Honours in Bengali literature. Later he also continued his Masters in Bengali.
At one point of time, Soumitra Chatterjee started to work for the All India Radio. This was before he had started acting in films.
While he was still continuing his education, he had met Ahindra Choudhury . Ahindra Choudhury was the then renowned actor of Bengali theatre. Soumitra, as a result, first started to learn acting from him. After that, he probably did some minor stage plays as well.
Soumitra Chatterjee gave his first screen test in 1957. The screen tests were for the upcoming film Nilachale Mahaprabhu to be directed by Kartik Chattopadhyay . But he got rejected in the test and therefore continued to work in the All India Radio.
Finally by good fortune, his first opportunity to act in films came through the legendary Satyajit Ray. Ray had started his career as film director not long ago. Although Ray was starting to being known as a talented director, he had not gained that international renown yet. In 1959, Ray cast him as lead role in Apur Sansar.
From his first film itself, Soumitra Chatterjee’s dormant talent sparked. In the passage of time, he furthermore went on to make fourteen films with Satyajit Ray in his lifetime. As a result of the master duo, each of the films became a classic.
Here are the films where Satyajit Ray and Soumitra Chatterjee worked together.
- Apur Sansar (1959)
- Debi (1960)
- Teen Kanya (1961)
- Abhijan (1962)
- Charulata (1964)
- Kapurush Mahapurush (1965)
- Aranyer Din Ratri (1970)
- Ashani Sanket (1973)
- Sonar Kella (1974)
- Joy Baba Felunath (1979)
- Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980)
- Ghare Baire (1985)
- Shakha Prashakha (1992)
- Ganashatru (1990)
In 1987, Satyajit Ray made a documentary on Sukumar Ray, his father. That year was the great artist’s birth centenary. Soumitra Chatterjee gave his voice and was also a part of the cast in this documentary.