Actor Soumitra Chatterjee passes away

Actor Soumitra Chatterjee passed away in Kolkata on Tuesday. He was 85. Chatterjee had tested positive for COVID-19 on October 6 and was admitted to Belle Vue Nursing Home in central Kolkata.

Though the actor had tested negative for COVID-19 within a week of admission to the nursing home, his condition kept deteriorating due to age-related ailments. His condition – though stable initially – continued to deteriorate. He was put on ventilator, and on dialysis. He was also given blood transfusion.

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner had got himself tested as he had mild fever for about three days or so in early October. Due to several age-related ailments, his condition was a matter of major concern from the very beginning. Belle Vue authorities said they had tried their best to bring the celebrated actor back to normal, but every effort had failed. He was on life support for the past couple of days and was not responding, said doctors. His neurological condition had worsened and tests revealed very little activity in the brain. His oxygenation requirement had increased and the kidney functioning had gone down.

The lack of response was said to be due to COVID encephalopathy that had set in his nervous system. Doctors from various departments – including neurology, nephrology, cardiology, critical care specialists came together in order to coordinate the treatment and try various ways to revive him. However, despite the best efforts, said doctors, his condition deteriorated for the past 40 days. He had undergone plasmapheresis on Thursday and tracheostomy on the day before.

Born on January 19, 1935, Chatterjee’s career in film spans for over six decades. He is best known for his films that were directed by Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray. Chatterjee worked in 14 of Ray’s films including Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) in 1959, which was his debut film. He also worked in Ray’s Charulata, Abhijan, Aranyer Din Ratri, Ashani Sanket, Sonar Kella, Joy Baba Felunath, Hirak Rajar Deshe, Ghare Baire, Shakha Prashakha and Ganashatru. Chatterjee is the first Indian film personality to receive the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artists. He also won the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian award.

He also worked with celebrated film director Mrinal Sen in Akash Kusum. Chatterjee has acted in memorable roles and is remembered for his brilliant performances in a number of Bengali films including Tapan Sinha’s Kshudhita Pashan, Jhinder Bandi, Atanka, Asit Sen’s Swaralipi, Ajoy Kar’s Otol Joler Ahobhan, Saat Pake Bandha and so on.

He received the Padma Bhushan in 2004, and won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest award for cinema. He won two National Film Awards as an actor and has been the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1998, and won several Filmfare Awards.

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