At a very private ceremony on Tuesday, Soumitra Chatterjee’s wife Deepa and son Sougata performed their prayer service at the Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. The rituals were conducted in the presence of a select few family members. A bigger memorial service titled ‘Naamjibon’, to be attended by 200 guests, will be held on December 5 at Rabindra Sadan where celebrities will come together for an evening of songs, sonnets and smiles, cherishing the myriad memories that have been “integral to the life and legacy” of the legend.
According to Chatterjee’s daughter Poulami, her theatre group ‘Shyambazar Mukhomukhi’ will be presenting this two-and-a-half-hour-long programme at Rabindra Sadan. A card is being designed by Ekta Creative Tales that will include his sketch. “For the card, my cousin, Shromona (Ghosh) has summed up the occasion and written: ‘Not to mourn but to celebrate/Not to cry but to memories liberate/Not to sigh but words of love, whisper/So it may blow in the wind, forever’. Srijato has penned the lines in Bengali,” she said.
The idea of the evening is not to capture the legend’s life. Rather, it will be about sharing his memories and celebrating his passions. Apart from the legend’s wife, son and daughter, others who will speak on the occasion include Prosenjit Chattopadhyay, Arindam Ganguly, Bratya Basu, Soumitra Mitra, Srijato, Srikanta Acharya, Srabani Sen, Lopamudra Mitra, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Koushik Sen, Debshankar Haldar, Atanu Ghosh, Biswajit Chakraborty, Gautam Bhattacharya, Anindya Chattopadhyay, Upal Sengupta, Sohan Bandyopadhyay and Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee. His doctors — Sunip Banerjee and Arindam Kar — have also been invited to speak on the occasion.
It is no secret that Chatterjee has often found solace in Tagore and his songs. Songs like “Amare tumi oshesh korecho emoni leela tobo”, “Prano bhoriye trisha horiye” and “Jhor jhor borishe bari dhara” were his personal favourites. “Though the list of songs that will be performed hasn’t yet been decided, Srikanto, Srabani, Rupankar, Lopamudra and Arindam will perform on the occasion,” his daughter said. For those who can’t attend the memorial, the programme will be live-streamed on a giant screen near Ektara Mancha.
Meanwhile, his daughter has quit social media because of the ruthless trolling she has been subjected to in the recent past. “A WhatsApp message was going around saying my mother is dead and we have kept the news hidden. Some people have even tried to send me money. This is just not done. In disgust, I asked a lady to send me her bank account so that I can send monetary help instead. Some have questioned why I had sent my father to work during the pandemic and then written on Facebook asking people not to come over at home to offer their condolence because I feared Covid infection. I don’t know what to say to such attacks,” she said. The allegations have hurt the entire family. “My social media account was an extension of my professional life. I might return to social media a couple of months later when I am feeling stronger. As of now, I wish to heal my way,” she concluded.