Tribute to Soumitra Chatterjee through documentary, play

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NEW DELHI– Indian cinema, which goes beyond Bollywood, got its first major recognition holding the hands of Satyajit Ray. And Ray discovered a gem – Soumitra Chatterjee – which got better polished with every film he did with the maestro. The actor who made his debut with “Apur Sansar”, the conclusion of the Apu Trilogy, went ahead to act in 14 films under the master – of an ouvre of 300.

A scene from the play "Apu Trilogy"
A scene from the play “Apu Trilogy”

Attempting to present the enigma of Soumitra, who turned 81 on Tuesday, on the national level, the RAID group organised “A Tribute to Soumitra Chatterjee” that showcased a documentary “Ray’s Apu” and a full-length play “Apu Trilogy” based on the three films.

The evening began with the documentary, directed by Ipshita Gon Gupta. With a narration by Soumitra himself, along with his daughter Poulomi and grandson Ronodeep, the documentary showcased the reel and real life incidents of the actor – from childhood to his college days, theatre personality Shishir Bhaduri who inspired him, bagging his first role under Satyajit Ray and the director’s influence on making him grow as an accomplished actor.

“Soumitra Chatterjee caught my imagination since the time I saw him ‘Sonar Kella’ as a child and later when I received an autographed photograph from him. His legendary work inspired me to make a documentary on his life. “Ray’s Apu” is a tribute from an admirer to the actor,” Gon Gupta told IANS.

The audience later got to witness “Apu Trilogy” directed by Happy Ranjit Sahoo which featured stupendous performances by the actors of ‘Unicorn Actors studio’. Based on the

novel “Pather Panchali” written by Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay, the play gave a real feel of the emotions, sentiments and situations of the characters brilliantly captured by the stage actors.

“Though it was difficult to compile the three films into one play along with maintaining the essence but it was not impossible. I have scripted “Apu Trology” with my own viewpoint, understanding and imagination,” Sahoo said.


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