Soumitra Chatterjee is an unorthodox genius who dabbled in the different streams of performing and creative arts with ease and a rare poise. For six decades he was a way of life and a pride in the collective identity. Only Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore precede him in adoration and reverence.
Yet, Soumitra Chatterjee was never a star in the glamour sky. Firmly rooted in his private spaces he was a curious mind free of inhibitions. This book stems out of engaging discussions with him over the years that were not interviews but convergence of ideas and experiences. A reflection of those exchanges, the book intends to celebrate life in general and the strands of a unique journey in particular.
Amitava Nag is an independent film critic based in Kolkata and editor of Silhouette (www.silhouette- magazine.com). His most recent books on cinema are 16 Frames and Smriti Satta o Cinema. His earlier writings include the acclaimed books Satyajit Ray's Heroes and Heroines and Beyond Apu: 20 Favourite Film Roles of Soumitra Chatterjee.
Amitava also writes poetry and short fiction in Bengali and English - observing life in a platter. His poetry collection Forever Meera and translation anthology of Soumitra Chatterjee's English poems titled Walking Through the Mist were published in 2020.
Soumitra Chatterjee was one of those extraordinary actors who straddled both the Theatre and Cinema with equal ease. A thinking actor whose performances eliminated that fine line distinction between performing and being. He made any role offered to him, his very own. It was as though no one else could play that part anymore. Very much like the great Bengali cultural icons before him, such as Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray, Soumitra Chatterjee was a man of many talents; actor, writer, poet, painter-in short, a renaissance man.
In the films of Satyajit Ray, he totally personified what Ray had in mind or imagined - it was as if they thought and responded exactly alike to the world in which they lived and belonged.
About four decades ago, I wanted to cast him in my film Kalyug as Shashi Kapoor's older brother. He was required to speak in Hindi as it was a Hindi language film. Being the perfectionist that he was, he declined the part, as he felt he did not know the language well enough to speak in the film, nor would he allow his voice to be dubbed.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
North Indian Music (289)
Original Texts (60)
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