In a Bengali household, Soumitra Chatterjee is a household name. The mother who was a teenager or young adult in her 50s, 60s would tell you of the days when she would wait outside his residence just to get one glimpse of his pretty face, the father would talk about how no other actor could have played a better 'Feluda' and the son, daughter who was born in the 90s would quietly listen to all these conversations and watch his films as if he had been a member of the household who achieved great heights. In other words, Soumitra Chattopadhyay is not just a first line superhero in a Bengali household. He is an artist who managed to sublimate from the screen and come home with us.
For the longest time, he had been the icon of Bengali cinema, best known for his collaboration with cultural icon Satyajit Ray. If Uttam Kumar is the star whom you fantasize to be your lover, Soumitra had been the star whom you fantasized to be the handsome humble husband. His death had marked the end of an era which he started with Ray in 1959 in the film Apur Sansar along with Sharmila Tagore. Later both the actors went on to become extremely successful in the Bengali film industry and the Hindi film industry respectively, but time and again if Ray would ever call them they would never miss the opportunity.
Most of the times when Satyajit Ray would write a script, he would keep Soumitra in mind. Except for Nayak and even for a Bengali audience who have adored Satyajit Ray and Soumitra Chattopadhyay duo, most of them had accepted that Nayak had been a script meant solely for the most handsome man to ever step on the planet (back then) which was Uttam Kumar. Many sensed an unsaid competition between the two front line heroes of Bengali cinema. But the two men actually became really good friends. Uttam Kumar was even invited at Soumitra Chatterjee's sister's wedding. This was at a time when weddings were more personal and didn't happen with hashtags on social media.
Such a pleasure then I saw (another movie) with Soumitra, the young Soumitra, with his smile, that twinkle in his eyes. He was a child at heart, he was curious and he loved chatting, he loved adda, he was not a reclusive person, you know I am somebody, therefore, I have to sit quietly he talked to everybody and made friends. There will be a lot of people who will speak for him now. His adda was so learned. It was not that him talking about where to get the Biriyani, well that too, but even that had a standard. One learnt so much by just listening to him. And when we heard him talk to his equals, it was a pleasure, about poetry, politics. He had a strong conviction that he defended, he stood up for the causes, belief, he would protest. I value the courage of his conviction. So it is not that he would change his opinion. He had values that were long-lasting. He got along very well with the younger generation. He would engage with people. He really celebrated life and he loved his work. I don't think he wanted not to work.," Sharmila Tagore had said to International Business Times earlier during a telephonic interaction.
Fight Feluda Fights, fans of the actor screamed when the news had arrived that he was admitted to the hospital during COVID 19. Showers of support had arrived from fans and various luminaries. Hope was the only thing his fans clung on to at a time when the medical team had advised everyone else to maintain social distancing and avoid making a crowd.