SOUMITRA CHOTTOPADDHAY: An honest thespian | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 19, 2019


Noted actor Soumitra Chottopaddhay was born on this day in 1935 in Krishnanagar Nadia. He is known to follow Russian theatre actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski, whose method explains that the actor must experience the character.

Soumitra is a model actor of this kind. In Satyajit Ray's Charulata, his character Amal sings the Rabindra Sangeet, Ami Chini Go Chini Go Tomare, on the piano. Satyajit sent an old piano to Soumitra's house during the making. He plays the piano effortlessly in that scene.

In Tapan Sinha's Wheelchair, the central character, Shusmita (Laboni Sarkar), is an assaulted woman with her neck broken and paralysed. Dr R Mitra (Soumitra) a neurologist, who is paralysed following an accident in England, operates from a wheelchair and starts attending her in a nursing home for the paralysed and spastics. As a part of his research for the role,  Soumitra went to a hospital to observe patients in wheelchairs and study the angst in them against the unconcerned society.

In Ray's Ovijan and Ashani Sanket, Soumitra portrays the roles of Narsingh, a stern taxi driver in an arid locale and Gangacharan Chakrabarty, a priest and a country doctor in the 1943 famine of Bangladesh respectively. He gave unforgettable performances in both of these films.

In the film, Kony, based on the story by Moti Nandi and directed by Soroj Dey, Soumitra plays the role of a spirited coach who motivates a young girl from a slum to excel in swimming. His character in the film became memorable for his phrase, “Fight Kony, fight.”

On the sets of Jalshaghor, Ray introduced Soumitra to Chobi Biswas as the leading man for his next film, Apur Sangsar

Soumitra Chottopaddhay went on to act in 300 films 14 of which were directed by Satyajit Ray.  He has 19 poetry collections, 30 play adaptations and 300 other elocutions to his credit. Saat Panke Badha, Ghare Baire, Belasheshe and Poshto are some of his many notable films.

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