To Soumitra, With Love


Soumitra Chatterjee (left) and Sharmila Tagore in Apur Sansar (1959)

Soumitra Chatterjee. The love of my life. He is extremely dependable. All I have to do is pop in one of his dvds, and he is right there. The shy smile, the quiet assured voice, the idealistic drive to do the “right” thing—all of these make up the many reasons why it is Soumitra, and not Uttam Kumar (his contemporary and perhaps, more sought after in the black and white era of Bengali cinema), that I hunger after. His many characters are responsible for making me fall in love with him again and again when I spy them on my television screen:

Pratulya in Baksha Badal/The Suitcase Affair (1965)

Amal in Charulata/The Lonely Wife (1964)

Ashim in Aranyer Din Ratri/Days and Nights in the Forest (1970)

Apu in Apur Sansar/The World of Apu (1959)

 And, so on.

As you can see, my love for Soumitra extends to his image circa late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s black and white Bengali movies.

Baba says I will be single forever, as there is no Soumitra now. Don’t get me wrong. Soumitra still exists at the age of 76. Married to his wife, Deepa, for the past 51 years. But my Soumitra is unattainable. He only exists within the colourless world of Bengali movies. And, in my head, of course.

So, what is to be done with this unrequited love?

Nothing, except day dream. Women of all ages had their chance decades ago. Now, it’s my turn.

This is my miniscule tribute to Soumitra Chatterjee. If I am lucky, I will get a chance to interview him someday.

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7 Comments

Filed under Thinking Aloud

7 responses to “To Soumitra, With Love

  1. Antara Yasmin

    Sanchari, is this article by you? This message is the echo of my own feeling for Soumitra too.

  2. Farah Nessa

    Soumitra is revoulation in Bengali Film.The definition of an actor means
    a bunch of qualities in terms of representing a person or society or a
    particular role.
    All the above said qualities he had from the very beginning and the qualities raised day by day.
    He is the only actor in Bengali movie who do have the ability of acting
    in all kinds of role.He had sound knowledge in various field of Bengali literature,society,history and many other fields.
    We do not want to compare Soumitra with any actor of India. He
    shall remain the best actor in the eyes of Bengali Film admirers.

  3. Kaushik Chowdhury

    Erm…. I dont know how to lay this one down gently so here it is:

    Uttam Kumar and Soumitra were not contemporaries. UK belonged to an entirely different era. Whereas Soumitra is no doubt a fine actor, IMHO, UK was far superior.

    Sorry about that one. :P

    • You are wrong. Both of them were making movies in the 50s/60s/70s, movies that were changing the face of Bengali cinema. And, although Uttam Kumar was a fine actor, no doubt, whether he was “superior” is highly debatable.

  4. Comment on Facebook:
    Sayon Sur and Symon Smith “like” this.
    Symon Smith on February 27 at 8:14 pm: i watched..uttam kumar`s movie today with mother and thought about your cute blog..

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