Tuesday, December 6

Oscars 2021: The Academy remembers Soumitra with ‘In Memoriam’ tribute

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It was a touching moment for Kolkata when a still of Soumitra Chatterjee from Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’ found a pride of place in the 93rd Academy award’s ‘In Memoriam’ page. While mourning the loss of all those artists and technical pioneers the world lost in the last one year, this page was the Oscar’s way of saying that the film community will always cherish their memories.
At the prestigious ceremony that was hosted at the Los Angeles’ Union Station on April 25, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett introduced this segment mentioning how “over 3 million souls lost around the world to Covid alone”. Chatterjee’s demise, too, was after a 40-day battle after he was infected with the virus. While the 3.01 minute-long video featured actor Irrfan Khan and costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, the official ‘In Memorium’ page mentioned Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput, Rishi Kapoor, Shashikala.
Chatterjee’s daughter Poulami Bose called this a “heartwarming” gesture. “My father was never too excited about awards. Growing up in pre-independence India, his value system was different. He was more work-oriented than recognition-oriented. Even when he was bestowed with international awards, he would see it as a recognition of his countrymen. Had Bapi somehow seen this ‘In Memoriam’ segment, he would have said it is recognition for India rather than just his work,” she said.


You have successfully cast your voteLogin to view resultSince Chatterjee’s death, the family has been plagued by a series of life events. In January, Bose had tested positive and took some time to recover. On April 4, she lost her mother to kidney-related issues. Now, her daughter, Mekhola, has been infected. “She just had fever on one day. But I got her tested immediately. Now, she is in home isolation and has no symptoms,” she added.

A lot of work by the Soumitra Chatterjee Foundation has been put on hold due to the second wave of Covid-19. Currently, Bose is using this time to sort Chatterjee’s collection of English and Bengali books. “Director Suman Ghosh and actor Kheyali Dastidar have taken some. I’ve gifted some to actors from my theatre group. I don’t have enough space and want the books to find a good home. So, I’ll give them to those who will read, appreciate and treasure them because they belonged to Bapi,” she said.
There are some 200-odd books that are awaiting distribution. Bose had kept aside for Suman Mukhopadhyay, Kaushik Sen and Debshankar Halder – actors whom Chatterjee was extremely fond of. Incidentally, on Mrinal Sen’s death anniversary, many of the legend’s books and trophies were also gifted away to people who wanted them.

“I also have such plans. I will keep the very important ones and give away the rest to others,” she added.

Meanwhile, she has also found some “sweetly-penned” letters sent to Chatterjee by his father and elder brother. “Somewhere, he was endearingly addressed as ‘Pulu sona’ or ‘Pulu buro’. I also found some letters written by maa to him. I also found All India Radio’s appointment letter to Bapi in 1958 for the post of an announcer and his personal script of ‘Raja Lear’.”

Source: Times of India

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