Finally Government of India recognizes veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee’s lifetime contribution to Indian Cinema and decided to confer him with country’s most prestigious film award, Dada Saheb Phalke. According to sources the jury has finalised his name and the formal announces to be made soon.
Chatterjee, who turned into 77 this year made his debut in Satyajit Ray directed ‘Apur Sansar’ in 1959, since then no looking back. With Ray alone he has worked in 14 films, which includes ‘Charulata’, ‘Aranyer Din Ratri’, ‘Devi’, ‘Teen Kanya’, ‘Ghare-Baire’, ‘Sonar Kella’, ‘Shakha Proshakha’ and ‘Joi Baba Felunath’. In his 53 years long career, he got chance to work with almost all renowned directors of Tollywood like Tapan Sinha, Goutam Ghose, Mrinal Sen, Asit Sen, Harisadhan Dasgupta, Dili Roy, Ajay Kar and others.
The actor who always been able to balance between the two houses of cinema, the contemporary and parallel was earlier conferred with ‘Officer des Arts et Metiers’, the highest award for Arts given by the French Government and a lifetime achievement award by Government of Italy. He turned down the honorary Padma Shri award from the Indian Government in 1970. In 2001 he also refused to accept special jury award from National Film Award citing biasness of the commitee. However in 2004, he accepted the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the President of India.
While talking to media the actor said, “the news makes me feel happy. It is highest award in our country, unlike other awards this does not involve any politics. That is why it is different. I will continue to strive whatever to do whatever i can to give my best to the world of cinema”.
The news spread just after the actor left the set of “Shunyo Anko: The Zero Act” a film by Goutam Ghose. While reacting to the news Goutam said, “I think the award is a long overdue. Soumitrada is one of the finest actor in the world. I am glad he has been given the award”.